Broker-owned underwriter could also make more acquisitions

Broker Direct, the insurance underwriting and services organisation owned by brokers, has revealed plans to increase its presence in the London market.

The Bolton-based company is creating a new arm to its own Lloyd’s broker HBA, called BD London.

Broker Direct said the move followed increasing demand from its agency members for access to the London market. BD London will be based at HBA’s City offices but will have a dedicated service team.

This development comes shortly after Broker Direct made its fourth acquisition, completing a deal for Scunthorpe-based Barry Fenton Insurance Brokers.

The company also recently launched a tradesman liability product in conjunction with Groupama and MMA on its online trading system. It also has plans to add two more insurers to its panel before the end of the year.

Terry Stanley, managing director of Broker Direct Retail Holdings, said: “We have been delighted at the way that our London market operation has been able to back up our online commercial products and cater for the larger or more unusual risks that our brokers may have. The month-by-month increase of use has meant we needed to give Broker Direct brokers their own dedicated unit – thus BD London was born.”

Broker Direct said it was in discussions with a number of other brokers with a view to acquisitions. Its previous deals include Bevan Fox Insurance Brokers, based in Tamworth, Fitzsimons Insurance Consultants Ltd in Stockport and Greenhalgh & Gregson in Bolton.

Stanley added: “I am absolutely delighted that Barry Fenton Insurance Brokers Limited is now part of the Broker Direct stable. It is a quality broking operation who, I know, gave considerable thought to who they would trust with the future of their clients and staff before choosing us”.

Meanwhile, Paul Brierley, managing director of Broker Direct’s broker network, Our Network, launched last year, said the network had now surpassed 250 members, which control a combined £700m in gross written premiums.