RJ Kiln is looking to sell its retail arm Link Insurance Services, fulfilling hints dropped in a strategic review released recently.

Media and industry speculation was ignited when Kiln said it needed to “secure the future of Link” in the review.

Link chairman Andrew Fleming-Williams, who is also a director of Kiln, confirmed the futures of Link and Kiln were separate, but said there were no immediate plans to dispose of the company.

In 1972 Kiln founded Link, which distributes Kiln's products throughout the UK and does some insourcing for Berkshire Hathaway.

Fleming-Williams said the review showed Kiln was likely to move further into wholesale, reinsurance and specialist underwriting areas, while Link would remain in the retail, direct and general sectors.

In addition, he said it was no longer suitable for Link to work off Kiln's mainframe system in Maidstone, and that Link would be driven by the General Insurance Standards Council, while Kiln would continue to be “very much a London Market underwriter”.

“The two companies have their separate paths,” he said. “It's very early to talk about approaches, but it's the sort of organisation that's attractive to many people.”

However, Fleming-Williams said Kiln was keen to ensure the company, staff and directors went to the best buyer.

“We want the best for the future of Link and we're very, very keen to involve all the staff in an open and communicative way,” he said. “We don't want this done in secret.”

Kiln will announce its 2000 figures in April but closed the year 1998 within its forecasts, Fleming-Williams said.

Its biggest syndicate 510, with £231m capacity, made a 3.6% loss but he said this was favourable in comparison to other Lloyd's syndicates.