The broker is pleased with reducing its losses by 50%, but turnover also shrank last year

Kerry London’s management have been keen to put a positive gloss on their 2010 results, which appeared this morning. The company’s loss after tax dropped 50% to £298,429 for the year ending 31 December 2010. The broker says that it is reaping the benefits of a restructuring that it carried out last year.

However, while the company has cut costs as a result of this trumpeted revamp, its revenues were down £755,000, a 5% drop. Many brokers found 2010 “challenging”, as Kerry London put in its Companies House filing. But few will have seen a drop quite as big as that recorded by Kerry London. The fall in revenue has effectively outpaced cost-cutting.

It is true that the last year has been especially challenging in property and construction, Kerry London’s traditional niche. But even within that sector, Kerry London has been suffering with the loss of two big accounts: Laing ORourke and Workspace. Other headaches over the past year have included a legal spat with Miles Smith following a string of departure and the exit of the firm’s five-strong sports and leisure team to CCV.

Today’s results may be a step in the right direction, but Kerry London clearly has a lot of work still to do.

Straw makes next move

The parliamentary recess may be in full swing, but the referral fee debate refuses to lie down. Insurance Times reported yesterday comments by Peter Lodder QC, chairman of the Bar Council, in which he branded referral fees as ‘bribes’. In a note to members, he said the barristers’ body was seeking advice on the implications of the Bribery Act for the controversial practice.

Then today we revealed that Jack Straw, whose high-profile comments about referral fees generated unprecedented focus on the topic, is taking the debate to the floor of the House of Commons next month. Straw has secured a ten-minute rule bill to ban referral fees as part of a wider shake-up of regulation surrounding motor insurance.

Technically, this can lead to legislation. But in practice, given the many procedural hurdles that such measures face in parliament, these debates are usually designed to stimulate publicity. It is more likely that change will come through an amendment to the Legal Aid bill, which implements many of the Jackson Review’s other recommendations on reforming civil litigation costs.

That said, by getting a debate on referral fees so soon after MPs return from their summer break, Straw has ensured that the issue is firmly on parliament’s autumn agenda.

Please don’t stop the music …

Those naughty boys the Kings of Leon. Looks like they’ve left Lloyds insurers with a 15m claim after they cancelled their US tour.

Talk is that Cathedral led the policy. I bet they got a bit of a shock because, frankly, that claim is on fire.