Zenith acquisition starts new growth plan for Gibraltar insurer

The newly-merged Link and Zenith Insurance are chasing an annual premium income target of £500m in five years.

Last week, Link owner Guardian General completed the purchase of the entire share capital of fellow Gibraltar insurer Zenith Group with the exception of Zenith's Lloyd's businesses, which are currently in run-off.

Andy Haynes, chief executive of Link and Zenith Insurance, told Insurance Times that the purchase would not affect brokers: "I have no immediate plans to change the business operations. We will keep both brands and both sets of products."

He did not rule out new products in the future, but these would be in existing product areas.

Haynes said his immediate aims were to reduce costs and grow the business. "We will be looking to manage claims better and get better deals with suppliers."

He said the combined ratio following the merger was in the "mid to high 80s", which he was looking to improve. "How quickly we can do this will depend on the integration."

On growth, Haynes said: "We now have far greater underwriting capability. The ambition is to get £500m [annual] premium income in five years' time."

Haynes said there would be no job losses as a result of the merger. "We will be recruiting quality underwriters to help take the business forward," he said.

The combined operation has a capacity of £210m for 2005.