Unit plans to grow by acquisitions and hires

Dominic Burke JLT

JLT plans to invest heavily through acquisitions and people hires as it gears up to attack the corporate sector.

JLT this week unveiled its newly-formed JLT Speciality Risk Practice, which was formed last November when the UK regional broking arm and London-based global risks business were merged together.

The idea behind the merger was to move JLT away from the lower-end commodatised business and push the company up the value chain by targeting more profitable niches in corporate.

JLT Speciality Risk Practice managing director Warren Downey said: “We are keen to grow by acquisitions of people and of companies and we will keep a balance between London specialist business and regional ambitions.”

Downey promised the division would be ‘zeroing in on specialisms that have made us successful.’

However, Downey suggested that JLT will concentrate on a service offering rather than a price led grab for greater market share.

“Growth is a consequence of doing the right things in the right way at the right times and not just saying ‘growth, growth, growth’,” he said.

The practice is split into four specialist divisions - communication technology and media; life science and risk practice; major risk practice; and finally, regional risk practice, that will corner energy, food and drink, retail and transport.

JLT Speciality Risk Practice has offices in Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Southampton, London and will later this year open up offices in Nottingham and Reading.

JLT Speciality Risk Pratice’s formation has seen the company shake out a number of senior figures. Ron Hayes, ex-managing director of Global Risk Solutions, former head of placement and servicing Chris Tabbitt and former sales and marketing leader Warren Dann all left in the shake-up last November.

JLT focus on specialisms has helped the UK-listed broker surpass its rivals in terms of size in the UK.

In 2011, JLT climbed to second place in the Insurance Times Top 50 Broker list, pushing Marsh and Willis to third and fourth place and overturning the order of the top three for the first time since 2008.