Aurora purchase signals move to greater presence

Capita is set to increase its presence in the commercial lines market. This follows its purchase of Aurora Corporate Services.

The purchase is due to be completed in early January.

The sale also means Independent Insurance's creditors will get some of their money back.

Aurora's entire staff will transfer to Capita, with Aurora's Cheadle headquarters to be used as a major operations centre by Capita.

Aurora's London staff are likely to move from their premises in Minster Court to Capita's Dukes Place office.

Independent's liquidator Pricewater-houseCoopers (PWC) set up Aurora to run-off the failed insurer's business.

Capita chief executive Paul Pindar said Capita had "more than enough business coming in" to keep Aurora busy once the run-off business ran out.

Capita currently has bids out on more than £1bn worth of new business in general and life insurance and pensions, with contracts ranging from between three and 15 years.

He said Capita would know the bid results in the next six to nine months.

Pindar said Capita already owned Cotesworth, which undertook commercial lines work.

He said Capita would consider business ranging from run-off and claims handling contracts to providing a "virtual insurance" service.

PWC liquidator Dan Schwarzmann said the sale was a "tremendous result" for Independent's creditors.

Capita will to pay an as-yet undisclosed cash sum for Aurora.

"The consideration will end up being returned to the creditors," he said.

"And, importantly, we've managed to keep the expertise and knowledge of the team together."

Schwarzmann said he expected to present the final details of the deal to the creditors' committee "very shortly".

The new business will be called Capita Aurora during the integration process, but will eventually revert to Capita.

Pindar said the deal would create between between 12 and 15 new jobs immediately.