Loss adjuster Crawford & Co will be poaching more staff from rivals, according to managing director of operations Benedict Burke.

"I have a bus with the engine running. There are still seats to be filled."

In its fraud team, which is headed by ex-Capita Bobby Gracey, Burke expects the team to rise from its present 13 staff in the UK and Ireland to 23 loss adjusters complemented by 25-26 ex-CID officers on a contract basis.

Since officially starting in May this year, Burke has been joined by his former colleague Jeff Stagg, who left his post as GAB Robins' joint head of liability after only three weeks in the job.

If there is any behind-the-scenes Svengali it is Crawford & Co managing director Ian Muress, who persuaded both men to jump ship.

So are the financial difficulties surrounding his old company GAB Robins stifling its growth?

"The shareholder is the issue there. The shareholder in Crawford is a loss adjuster. They are going to be here for the long-term.

"Brera Capital Partners, the principal shareholder of GAB Robins will develop its own strategy for investments and for investing in the UK," Burke said.

An area of growth Burke will be promoting is Crawford Corporate Client Services which may involve acquisitions. "Let's just say the pen is poised," he said.

It is understood that directors of GAB Robins' Sergon BRM, the building and large contractors claims specialist, may be looking at an MBO.

So would Burke like to get his hands on this lucrative venture? "I'm not going to be drawn on that subject.

"But it is a good brand."