£360,000 deficit on commercial target blamed on defections from sales team

Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) missed its targets for new business in commercial insurance for three months by a total of approximately £360,000 in premium income.

Halifax General Insurance Services head of partnerships and commercial insurance Peter Thompson said the "blip" followed the defection of sales staff to its rival HSBC.

Twelve of HBOS's 37-strong field-based commercial insurance sales team left the company in May 2004.

"This is not a huge figure," said Thompson. "It's nothing more than a blip.

"But it will come back next year in terms of trying to meet our renewal targets between May and September."

The sales staff were lost from HBOS's "mid value" sales team, but Thompson said HBOS was ahead of its new business targets in the small end of the commercial market.

Thompson said HBOS finished recruiting new team members in September. He said the new team members were performing well and that the commercial business was back on track.

In May HBOS announced plans to become a "top 20 commercial insurance broker" within the next three years.

The growth plans involve leveraging off the group's business banking clients, as well as the possibility of making broker acquisitions.