Folgate insurance is to attack the commercial lines market by creating eight new products and opening three regional offices and a 250-member broker club.

The move follows hot on the heels of Folgate's decision to boost its commercial underwriting team by taking on 14 former staff from Lombard, now part of Groupama.

David Drew becomes Folgate's commercial insurance board director, Mick Husband the new commercial underwriting manager and Mike Bridge the commercial sales and operations manager.

Folgate's current commercial book of business is worth around £1.5 million, but Drew and his team expect to grow the account "substantially" and make an underwriting profit by 2002.

Husband said that Folgate's target area of business will be premiums worth between £2,500 and £25,000.

Folgate also intends to make headway in its service levels for brokers. Drew said: "We've spoken to a lot of brokers who say service is appalling.

"So we're going to work with a selective broker panel, no backlog, and have no mergers and acquisitions to worry about. We're not going to be the biggest, but we can really excel if we stay focused."

Drew, Husband and Bridge said the financial incentives offered to brokers would be decided during a course of seminars on February 2 and 3.

Drew maintained that Folgate would not just be rehashing the service that Lombard offered. "We're sure of many of the brokers that we want, but we won't just be picking off Lombard brokers."

Part of the new broker panel will comprise 50 preferred partners. The new operation started on January 5 and has written a small amount of business since then.

The eight new products are: traders combined, property owners, flats, leisure, self-employed liability, personal accident, contractors all risks and excess of loss.

Folgate's new team's three offices will cover the northern home counties (including London), the Midlands and North and the southern home counties.