Two former Ink employees join Smith at IIG to target regional brokers

Mike Smith

Former Ink Underwriting managing director Mike Smith will return to the insurance market next week with the launch of a new commercial lines managing general agent (MGA), Insurance Times can reveal.

The new company, Incorporated Insurance Group (IIGL), will be aimed at regional community insurance brokers with up to £8m gross written premiums.

IIGL has a two-year £10m capacity deal in place with five insurers. But Smith, who who was put on gardening leave by Ink’s parent company Giles at the end of October last year, remained tight lipped about who they were simply telling Insurance Times that two of them were providing around 60% of the capacity and were Lloyds of London market insurers.

“We are not looking to write business with Aon, Willis, Marsh or any of the other nationals. We are not looking to write business with Towergate, Jelf, Giles or Oval. We think our opportunity is with the provincially based broker,” Smith said.

The senior management team is already in place and includes Jon Layton who has joined from legal expenses firm ARAG, where he was business development manager, as head of sales, and Colin Mayor, who has joined as an underwriter from Prosight Speciality Insurance.

Smith has also recruited two members of his former team from Ink Underwriting. Lyndsey Thompson has joined as head of operations of IIG and Dean Surridge has joined as a underwriter.  All are partners and have a share in the business.

IIGL will offer a mix of packaged business, including estate agents, hotels, pubs and restaurants and liability covers for high hazard risks, cleaning contractors and professional indemnity insurance for mortgage brokers; and commercial and residential property insurance. The MGA will also offer a product called Business Assist aimed at small to medium sized enterprises with annual turnover of under £3m, and will include Directors’ and Officers’ and legal expenses insurance.

Smith said he would only target regional brokers because they have greater knowledge of, and a better relationships with their clients. “We are able to make a better return out of provincial commercial brokers than we can out of the bigger nationals,” he added

“I would rather we had 12 facilities all of which are £4m or £5m each than facilities that were £20m, £30m, £40m each and each one of those is reliant on one or two main carriers, one or two big brokers to make it work because then you get the tail wagging the dog. You end up writing risks you wouldn’t normally write just to appease that big relationship,” he added.

Read more in this week’s issue of Insurance Times.