As predicted by Insurance Times last November, former AXA chief executive Andy Homer took over Folgate Partnerships this week as chief executive.

And he pledged that the underwriting agency would make a profit in year two of trading and would be underwriting more than £200m in gross premiums in four to five years.

As revealed by Insurance Times last week, Folgate's aim is to build a regional network of seven or eight large "hub" brokers with six or seven smaller "spoke" brokers around each hub. The first deal will be with Leeds-based Smithson Mason Group.

Homer said the vision is to use underwriting expertise to focus on profitable business with low losses. He said the partnership would also utilise full-cycle electronic data interchange to reduce costs by up to 2%, compared to traditional transactions.

Homer said overheads would be kept low, compared to traditional underwriters, by moving headquarters to an office in Kent. He ruled out moving to Independent's former headquarters in Edenbridge.

Homer said he is in negotiations with six risk carriers at the moment and that deals are imminent with three. It is understood that Churchill/NIG, Norwich Union and AXA are at the top of the list.

Homer said he would be distancing himself from dealings with AXA for a year because it was his previous employer.

Folgate, which will run off all existing business when the Financial Services Authority (FSA) approves Towergate Underwriting Group's plan later this month, will share contacts and cross-sell to Towergate's existing brokers and clients. This will be overseen by group sales and marketing director Tony Proverbs.

Homer will also run the recently acquired Masterplan business which will be rebranded Folgate Network.

Homer will report to Towergate chairman Peter Cullum. Folgate chief operating officer Kenny Maciver will report to Homer and have direct control of the Folgate run off and the partnership of hub brokers.