Churchill Insurance founder Martin Long has taken a further step in his return to the insurance industry, with his appointment as chairman of an underwriting agency start-up.

M4 Underwriting will open for business on 6 June and is understood to be aiming for premium income of £30m within five years. It is backed by insurer Allianz Cornhill.

Don Oakley, formerly of Zurich and Independent Insurance, is managing director, while Mike Watts, previously with Fusion and Independent Insurance is director of underwriting.

M4 has also appointed Jim McClymont who is ex-Zurich. It will announce further appointments, including a marketing director, who is understood to be well known in the industry, and is currently working his notice with an insurer.

Long, who was appointed as non-executive chairman of loss adjuster Ashworth Mairs Group, is believed to have made a large personal financial investment in the new business.

Oakley said: "We've talked to brokers and found there is a gap in the market for our initial core offering - a package of commercial property, casualty and motor fleet, aimed at mid-market companies."

Although the initial carrier is Allianz Cornhill, Oakley said M4 would use other capacity, as it was "not tied to any one supplier".

M4 will target "growing, independent" brokers and use a small panel.

Oakley described this as a "regional franchise approach."

He said M4 would offer its brokers exclusive quotes, to give them a competitive advantage.