Former Dual chief to head up Thistle Underwriting

Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group (JLT) has established a new division, Thistle Underwriters, to be the focus of a major international initiative to drive forward its activities in providing underwriting services.

The move sees the appointment of former Dual Underwriting chief, James Gerry as head of Thistle, and follows the announcement by fellow global broking giant Willis last month that it was in the midst of developing an managing general agent.

Marsh has recently expressed similar sentiments, while Aon has suggested it will be ramping up its existing underwriting facilities.

In a statement JLT described the move as a "key outcome" from strategic work that identified a substantial business opportunity for the company to develop its services as a distributor and servicer of insurance products.

The work noted the potential for new technologies to both increase distribution and streamline the flow of business and of information to insurance markets while removing the current areas of duplication between carriers and brokers.

JLT will not itself become a provider of insurance risk capital.

JLT chief executive Dominic Burke said: "Many capital providers are coming increasingly to appreciate that the best way for them to secure an attractive return on large parts of their books of business is to standardise products and simplify the underwriting process.

"This they can do by outsourcing underwriting functions and partnering with an independent distributor, JLT makes a very attractive partner with its expertise and established strength in affinity marketing, the JLT online platform and our extensive international reach".

Thistle Underwriting will be led by former Dual Underwriting chief executive, James Gerry.

He previously held senior positions at Chubb and Brockbank, where he served as director of underwriting.

During the first quarter of 2008 Gerry will be working closely with senior members of the group throughout JLT's international operations to formulate a detailed business plan.

He said: "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead JLT's newly created underwriting business. In the current market there are huge possibilities counterpoised with immense challenges. I am joining JLT because I was impressed by the sheer scale of their service capabilities and the determination by Group senior management to ensure the success of this major new initiative."

It is anticipated that Thistle Underwriting will be duly authorised by the FSA in early 2008 and commence trading shortly thereafter.