UK property and casualty insurer plans more offices and jobs in 2003

Fusion Insurance Services will take on at least 40 new staff in 2003.

Managing director Kevin Pallett would not rule out adding to the company's five offices in London, Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol.

Pallett was speaking exclusively to Insurance Times to mark Fusion's first two years in business.

He claimed that the SVB company will close 2002 with £50m gross written premium and 200 broker partners.

Pallett and Geoff Crisp, both formerly of Independent Insurance, set up Fusion with 80% backing from SVB and 20% of their own money. Its business is placed with SVB syndicate 2147.

The "virtual insurer" has been well received, with Folgate Partnership chief executive Andy Homer calling it the most impressive underwriter currently operating.

However, critics said Fusion relied too heavily on Independent-style wooing of brokers.

Pallett is unapologetic about the importance of Fusion's broker partners.

"Our aim is to be thought of as the best and most respected technical insurance people by our 200 brokers," he said.

Pallett said Fusion could take on up to 50 new brokers in the coming year.

"If there's a fit, we'll work with them," he said.

Fusion will also take on new staff across the UK.

"We're looking for underwriters, risk control surveyors, claims, sales and back-up staff," Pallett said.

"We want people with the right attitude, people that care about the service they give."

Pallett said Fusion would open new offices if its current ones became too full.

"We love the idea of focused business units, so when an office becomes too full, we like to break it down because it creates close teams, with their own business - their brokers - delivering service to their people," he said.

Pallett was adamant Fusion had not set any long-term market share goals.

"The five-year business plan in the insurance industry is fantasy and anyone who tells you otherwise is talking b*******s," he said.