Broker aims for £45m GWP by end of 2011 and is on the look-out for an acquisition

MCE Insurance director Julian Edwards is set to lead the motorcycle broker into a new era as its chief executive, Insurance Times can reveal.

Edwards is stepping up to replace father and MCE founder Michael Edwards, who is becoming executive chairman following 35 years at the helm of the family-owned business.

Julian Edwards has set out growth targets, including increasing gross written premium from £39m to £45m by the end of 2011, not including acquisitions, which are also set to come into the picture for the first time.

“The timing is right. It is something we have been working towards for a number of years now,” Edwards told Insurance Times. “MCE has put on some really good consistent growth in the last five years. The business has also got aspirations to develop further, which meant we actually needed an extra layer in there. We needed an executive chairman to drive us forward in other ways and to take MCE to the next level.”

The Northamptonshire-based firm, which has 190 staff, currently insures around 160,000 motorbikes in the UK. Edwards said the company would target “sustained growth”, but is eyeing new opportunities in a difficult market. “There’s no doubt about it – capacity in personal lines is as hard as I’ve ever known it,” he said.

The company could be tempted by a niche personal lines acquisition in the region of £10m GWP to £20m, but will not rush into a deal.

“The acquisitions have got to be the right fit for us. If those opportunities don’t appear, then we won’t purchase.”

In his new role as executive chairman, Michael Edwards is putting together a team to focus specifically on M&A. He said it was the right time to look seriously at acquisition opportunities after years of organic growth and running a debt-free business.

“This is going to relieve me to do new projects,” he said. “Acquisitions are not off the radar.”

Subscriber Exclusive: Not for sale: five questions with MCE's Julian Edwards.