Chris Gardner will be responsible for building and pricing home insurance products

Paul Williams  - Brightside

Brightside has bolstered its underwriting team by hiring Chris Gardner as home underwriter and product manager amid plans to grow its home insurance book.

Gardner has joined Brightside from Lloyds TSB Insurance where he was senior manager of household pricing.

Gardner’s hire forms part of the broker’s plans to grow its home book from £2m to £10m by next year. By comparison Brightside’s personal motor book is worth around £80m in gross written premium.

The broker also wants to grow its product breadth and underwriting expertise.

Gardner will be responsible for building and pricing home insurance products to be underwritten and sold by the broker via its online channel One Insurance Solution or over the phone.

Chief executive Paul Williams told Insurance Times that hiring Gardner was key to giving its home insurance offering a competitive edge.

It would enable the broker to design more bespoke products for its customers, depending on their age, profession or additional interests, he said.

Williams said: “Chris’s hire gives us a great springboard for conversations with insures. You need to have expertise in this area and you need to talk their language.

“Finding people with experience of writing home insurance at head office level is not easy. If you try to hire someone in that space, you need someone who has got the knowledge of not just doing underwriting of home insurance. You can get someone who underwrites – but this guy created the rules.”

Since Williams, the former UK broking director at Towergate, joined Brightside he has made a raft of appointments to expand its panel of insurers and increase profits by setting up delegated authority and managing general agent (MGA) agreements.

In March Paul Rountree joined the broking group as capacity and pricing manager to build the MGA’s niche motor proposition.

Both Gardner and Rountree will report to group carrier and capacity director Keith Jackson.