Chaucer will break into the UK general liability market in early 2007 after poaching a specialist underwriter from Novae to head up the division.

Stuart Dickinson, formerly a senior general liability underwriter at Novae Insurance, will be responsible for developing the liability book in anticipation of improved market conditions, the company said.

Ewen Gilmour, chief executive of Chaucer, told Insurance Times: "Because of the timing of the insurance cycle, [Stuart] will be slowly developing the UK general liability account on the back of our motoring division and working closely with our motor clients.

"We believe there is a good opportunity to sell products such as public liability and employers' liability at the same time."

Gilmour said that further appointments were likely to be announced as the newly-formed division expanded.

Dickinson, who is currently on gardening leave after leaving Novae - formerly SVB - in July after eight years, will not start at Chaucer until December.

His departure from Novae Insurance, the UK subsidiary of Lloyd's insurer Novae Group, is not expected to adversely impact the company's general liability team, which will continue to be headed up by Nick Ventham.

But the two insurers are likely compete against each other in the future within the general liability sector.