Focus on underwriting business to boost income to £300m by 2011

Lloyd’s broker Chesterfield Group is set to triple in size in the next four years by focusing on its underwriting business.

The company, which intends to grow its annual income of £100m to £300m by 2011, has admitted that future growth is more likely to come through its underwriting operation, Chesterfield Underwriting Agency.

Gary Hirst, executive director of the Chesterfield Group, told Insurance Times: “Our business is changing. When we first set up the company in 1999 we were just a traditional London-based wholesale broker. But, as Lloyd’s underwriters look to shorten the chain of the transaction we are seeing ourselves being leapfrogged.

“Our main focus is now the underwriting agency-type business, because we are able to access the direct insured, which means we are not reliant on third party brokers to gain business.”

The admission follows the expansion of its underwriting arm, which currently specialises in high net worth homeowners cover across Europe, with the launch of two new products.

Securabroad offers overseas homeowners insurance to British ex-pats in Bulgaria and Spain via an online portal, while Ecoinsurance provides cover for small renewable energy providers.

Ecoinsurance will initially be distributed through Chesterfield’s insurance broking division and is expected to be rolled out to its underwriting operation in the next six months.

Hirst said the company intended to write around €1m (£750,000) of Securabroad business in the next three years, which represents around 3,500 policies, with its Ecoinsurance portfolio expected to grow to £5m of premium income within the same period.

The expansion follows Chesterfield’s recent purchase of the oldest Lloyd’s managing agent in Dallas, Van Wagoner, which adds to existing offices in Ottawa and Toronto.