Specialist insurer Markel aims to grow its fledgling social welfare business to match the size of its professional indemnity (PI) book, Insurance Times has learned.

Professional indemnity is Markel’s largest book of business.

The insurer said rapid growth in the social welfare sector would see its UK retail division, currently worth £60m, increase its share of group revenue from 15% to 20%.

Markel’s social welfare business includes covers for charities, not-for-profits, community groups and care and nursing homes.

Steve Carroll, managing director of Markel’s UK retail division, said: “These businesses are expanding their services. We can fill in the gaps. High maintenance clients cannot be commoditised.”

Carroll highlighted the strength of regional brokers as a key factor in fostering growth in specialist markets but said there would be no staff recruitment drive or opening of new offices.

He said that improved use of technology would allow it to achieve its goal.

“You don’t invest in technology and personnel,” he said. “We can double the business without taking on staff. The key is having equipped underwriting.”

Markel has 400 employees in the UK, including 70 at its regional hub in Leeds.

The company launched six products, earlier this year, and a new general liability offering to sit alongside its PI business.

More products are expected to follow over the coming months.