Senior staff from the corporate risks department of UK broker Layton Blackham (LB) have broken away to form their own brokerage.

Their new company, Alliance Insurance Management, began trading with a £1 million book of business last week from offices in London's premier jewellery district Hatton Garden.

Its broad spread of business ranges from multiple retail outlets to micro breweries.

Former Layton Blackham managing director John McLaren-Stewart and corporate risk directors Jonathan Quaile and Stephen Careford are setting their sights on the £5m to £250m turnover company risk market.

Bill Quaile, Alliance Insurance marketing manager, said the team decided on the independent launch after spotting a niche in this specialist end of the broking market.

He said: "The smaller broker quoting for personal lines and small commercial lines business is under intense competition from the direct telephone line brokers. The global brokers tend to apply their resources elsewhere, being more geared for the multi-national clients."

The company is developing a direct selling channel and is in the process of setting up an internet site.
- Insurance litigation firm Kennedys expects to boost its turnover by more than £2m following the defection of 18 lawyers from claims specialists Edward Lewis.

Kennedys has managed to attract Edward Lewis' key claims liability partners Jane Smith, Kate Whitefield and Kieron West after the £10m turnover firm was dissolved with the agreement of all its partners.

Senior Kennedys partner Nick Thomas said the three partners together with their 15 assistants will join his £21m turnover firm at the end of January.

Their expertise includes high value motor claims work for Eagle Star and Zurich, and liability cases for the Metropolitan Police.

Thomas said he expected the former Edward Lewis staff would bring £2m worth of insurance-related work to Kennedys and increase its chances of landing the contract for Zurich/Eagle Star's London Market work later this year.