US broker acquires UK underwriting agency.

Gallagher buys Oxygen

Arthur J Gallagher has acquired underwriting agency Oxygen Insurance Managers from its parent, Oxygen Holdings. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Rates soften in first half

Insurance rates softened in the first half of 2008 across most lines of business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to Marsh. But the broking giant also identified trends that suggest the market may harden in the near future.

Britons struggle to pay

Research by Engage Mutual has revealed that 60% of Britons can’t afford to pay some of their insurance as the cost of living rises. The cost of dental check-ups and new glasses were top of the list, with 43% struggling to pay for them.

Bruce to run ChoiceQuote

Cathie Bruce is to take up the new post of managing director of ChoiceQuote Insurance Services, the specialist broking subsidiary of Groupama Insurances. She is currently distribution and customer service director at the insurer and will take up the new position in November.

Simon Lovat

Simon Lovat’s job title was incorrectly listed in last week’s edition of Insurance Times. His correct title is divisional director of the UK professional indemnity division of United Insurance Brokers.