Insurer says half a dozen deals are at "legal stage".

Equity has acquired Essex broker Peter D J Murray Insurance Consultants.

It is the insurer's 17th acquisition in the past year, and one of six deals that are set to conclude.

The purchase increases the group's UK network to more than 90 branches.

In a statement Equity acquisition director Mike Hutton said the company was "well on target" to reach its target of 100 branches by the end of the year.

Hutton said: "Our acquisition strategy remains aggressive; the group is at the legal stage of half a dozen further deals and funding is in place for larger purchases that fit our criteria."

Formed in 1970, Peter D J Murray was owned by partners Jo Harris and Stuart Murray. Jo Harris and all existing employees will remain with the business, whilst Stuart Murray will concentrate on its life, pensions, investments and mortgage accounts.

Lask week, the chief executive of Equity's parent company, IAG, resigned amid fierce criticism of the performance of the group's UK portfolio, which also includes Hastings and Advantage.

The company is regearing its portfolio towards more specialist lines, while a strategic review of the IAG business, including its UK assets, is underway.