Broking group ramps up expansion plans and creates senior role.

Equity Insurance Group has continued its expansion plans with the acquisition of West Midlands broker Bryan & Knott for an undisclosed sum.

It has also appointed Edward Fitzmaurice to the new position of chief executive of two of its divisions Equity Direct and Hastings.

The acquisition of Bryan & Knott gives Equity five branches in the region and brings its number of branches nationally to 90. It also marks Equity’s 35th acquisition in two years.

Mike Hutton, Equity’s acquisitions director, said: “Bryan & Knott presents an attractive opportunity for the group to make further investments in successful broking businesses and accelerates our stated expansion.”

The broker was established in Bridgnorth, Shropshire by Maurice Knott in 1958. Around 75% of its business is personal lines and the remainder is commercial.

Following the acquisition, partners Maurice Knott and Eileen Knott have retired. James Knott remains with the business, along with the company’s 30 staff.

The acquisition follows Equity’s purchase of commercial broker Barnet & Barnet in March.

Meanwhile, Fitzmaurice, former chief executive of Homeserve’s warranties division, takes over two divisions of Equity’s direct business.

Nick Potts had been temporarily managing Hastings and will now return to concentrate on his other role as managing director of Equity Insurance Brokers.

Equity Insurance Group also announced plans this week to rehouse 150 employees in a new office in Brentwood.

Members of its claims liability, classic car and motor breakdown teams are moving to the recently completed Kingsgate development close to Brentwood railway station.

Equity employs almost 800 people in Brentwood and a further 900 at offices and high street branches throughout the UK.

Equity and Hastings are owned by IAG UK and led by chief executive Neil Utley.