Underwriting agency Dual Corporate Risks has poached a specialist SME liability team from Chubb for its new regional offices in Manchester.

The operation will be led by Kevin Cleary and includes Morgan Lyons, Fiona Saggers and Debbie Sharples - all ex-Chubb staff.

The team will provide directors' and officers' (D&O) liability, professional indemnity, fidelity and pension liability cover for regional SMEs.

Russell Kilpatrick, Dual Corporate Risks' managing director, said: "Securing Kevin and his colleagues is a considerable coup. Their strong presence in the SME market combined with Manchester's strategic location means

Dual is well positioned in the Midlands, North West and Scotland."

He added: "This has potentially blocked an artery into Chubb's regional operations."

Chubb declined to comment on the departures, but a spokesman said the company had seen an increase in sales of personal D&O cover, particularly through its direct exclusive scheme for the Institute of Directors.

He said: "Chubb has seen year-on-year growth in directors' own cover, suggesting greater awareness of risk."