Acquisition-hungry broker is eyeing UK retail market

Chris Blackham made a surprise return to the insurance industry this week, taking a non-executive role on the board of broker Howden, part of the 3i-backed Hyperion Group.

Blackham, who sold his business Layton Blackham to AXA in 2007, will help Howden make inroads into the UK retail broking market, including possible acquisitions.

Howden, which currently has a large international business as well as a specialist retail broking business in the UK, wants to expand its reach in mid-corporate and other commercial lines.

Blackham said: “I could not ignore this compelling opportunity to return to the insurance industry. Many businesses say they’re ambitious, but Howden stands out from the crowd.”

Howden chief executive Tim Coles said that as well as full acquisitions, the broker hopes to take on existing teams around the country.

Coles said: “Chris has unparalleled experience of both the UK retail and wholesale markets, and thrives on building businesses. He is a man with vision and energy, and his extensive knowledge and experience will be invaluable.”