With £50m GWP broker focuses on buying niche players

Broker Hill House Hammond (HHH) has doubled its gross written premium to £50m during 2002 and is still hungry for more brokers, according to Paul Williams, head of Hill House Hammond Business.

After acquiring over 40 brokers in the past 12 months - the majority small regional brokers close to retirement - HHH plans to continue spending, but on more niche market players.

"We are looking to pursue acquisitions in a similar vein to what Folgate is doing...We plan to buy even more this year. The chequebook is open and if we could double the amount we bought last year, that would be wonderful," said Williams.

After joining Biba only two months ago, HHH will be making good use of the conference in May which could be open season for bargain hunters in the broker sector.

Williams said HHH would be promoting its new business areas.

Williams said: "We hope to develop sectors such as not-for-profit, accountants, solicitors and agricultural/farmer.

"We want also to expand outside just insurance to offer capital financing, health and safety and legal advice. Basically offer clients solutions to all business exposures," he said.

After 18 months in the job, Williams has made his analysis of the business and wants "to become more client-focused." This equates to HHH introducing a club membership to premier clients; consultancy; and possibly incentive schemes. "If a client is spending over £50,000 a year with us, I see no reason why we couldn't offer its staff discounts," he added.

Since last March HHH has extended its suppliers from four to ten including AXA, R&SA, NU, Zurich, Avon and NIG. "This month we have just signed up AXA for its SME business. Signing these major volume deals is our goal this year," said Williams.