Central England to be served from Hemel and Birmingham

Lorica Insurance Brokers has closed its Northampton branch one year after it opened, Insurance Times has learned.

The branch opened in April last year, and was run by Julie Walker, who was formerly the managing director of Towergate’s Northampton branch. When it opened, Lorica said it had “engaged a number of talented individuals able to look after the insurance needs of businesses and individuals in this central area of the country”.

Six members of staff worked at the branch when it closed last week. It is understood that three have accepted jobs at its Hemel and Birmingham branches, one is considering a relocation offer, and two will leave the business.

Lorica described the closure as a “merger” of its operations in central England, and said it had opened the branch last year “as a measure to attract key staff in this area”.

The closure comes just weeks after Lorica opened a new branch in Bristol and the broker also plans to open a ninth branch this year.

Lorica also pointed to a double-digit rise in turnover as evidence of its continued growth. It said that premiums were up 32% since the start of its financial year, and turnover was up 20%.

Although Lorica reported £2.7m pre-tax loss in the year to 31 March 2013, the company said its strategy of hiring individuals and teams – rather than businesses – meant it would turn a profit as covenant periods had expired.

“Losses arise as a direct result of these planned investments which will continue with the scale of ongoing investment; achieved without any external debt,” the company said in a statement.

“The timing of Lorica’s transition to profit is determined by the scale of continued investment; without any additional hires the business will generate a profit in the forthcoming year.”

Lorica opened its Bristol Branch at the beginning of June. The branch is currently being run by Jamie Boyd and Sophie Densley, two former Towergate account handlers. Linda Boyd will join from Towergate as claims handler next month, while Lee Gregson will join from Arthur J Gallagher as an account manager.

The company is recruiting further staff to trade from the Bristol branch, it added.