Consolidator in discussions with insurers to boost capacity

Consolidator Giles has unveiled plans to hire up to 100 underwriters as it seeks to boost its capacity.

The broker, which recently received a £500m acquisition fund from private equity investor Charterhouse, is already in discussions with a number of major insurers with regard to growing its underwriting portfolio.

Giles distribution director Leo Gibbons said the broker planned to develop a leading presence across a range of commercial lines business classes. Gibbons said: “This is a major investment, which will form a central part of our growth strategy.”

He would not be drawn on how much Giles would invest in developing its underwriting business. He denied that the move was an attempt to seek greater leverage and control of the distribution chain.

Giles’ interest in developing an underwriting function was first indicated last June, when the company bought £25m GWP liability underwriter, Ink.  

Gibbons said: “This is about developing our infrastructure, providing a broader range of products and eliminating frictional costs.

“In some cases, we will be able to provide a better and more cost-efficient service than insurers. It seems sensible for us – we are in control of a strong book of retail business.”

Ink currently employs 30 underwriters in three locations – Rayleigh, Glasgow and Beckenham. Gibbons said it was possible that Giles would look to open new underwriting hubs as the business grew.

He added that it was possible that Giles would develop a claims handling function in the future.