Lancaster and Sureterm likely to stay in portfolio, says chief executive

Capita Insurance Distribution will review its customer-facing brands later this year following the acquisition of specialist motor broker Sureterm Direct.

Chief executive Mark Townsend said the review would focus on ensuring all the group’s brands were “meaningful”.

The broker, part of Capita Group, now has a number of customer-facing brands, including A Quote and First Quote, part of Hero, Lancaster, BDML and now Sureterm.

Townsend said: “We probably have too many brands and we will be reviewing that later this year. The likelihood is that both Lancaster and Sureterm will remain as important plans in our portfolio; they both have strong reputations and loyal customer bases.”

The Sureterm acquisition will add capacity, new types of policies and 75,000 policyholders to Capita’s book.

Townsend said Sureterm could work closely with classic car specialist Lancaster. “We are currently evaluating the opportunities to enable those two companies to work more closely together. We haven’t acquired the business with the view of transforming it completely – we hope to be able to add to it. There aren’t redundancy plans or anything like that,” he said.

The deal for an undisclosed sum, announced last week, was funded from existing facilities.

Townsend said there were no plans for further acquisitions this year, but that the broker would be interested if the right opportunity arose.

In its most recent results, released in February, Capita reported a 10% increase in turnover to £2.69bn (2008: £2.44bn). Operating profit was up 11% to £357.7m (£320.9m) and pre-tax profits rose 17% to £325.1m (£277.2m). The company said organic growth was “steady”, with major contract wins and renewals totalling £1bn (2008: £1.24bn).

Sureterm is a personal lines broker, offering insurance for classic cars, motor homes and 4x4s. It employs 141 staff, based mainly in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.