Derek Coles to lead newly-combined Ardonagh businesses 

Ardonagh has formed a new powerhouse specialist and niche risk business led by Derek Coles who is calling on brokers to ‘come and work with us’.

The major development sees Ardonagh’s MGA business, led by Paul Dilley, and the schemes business headed by Coles, join together.

Coles will become chief executive and Dilley chief underwriting officer of the newly-combined Geo business, subject to regulatory approval.

Speaking at the Biba conference in Manchester, Coles said the coming together of the two businesses was excellent news for brokers.

Ardonagh can now truly use its scale – the newly-combined business have around £400m premium income – to underwrite and create specialist and niche products for brokers, he said.

Coles said: “There is no big corporate speeches. It’s all about the message of ‘come and work with us’.”

Arch deal

The decision to combine the units comes 12 months after Geo was officially launched.

Last year, Towergate Commercial, Fusion and Arista were sold to Arch.

Dilley said: “We said we wanted to create a dedicated niche MGA. We sold those business to Arch which was a great of piece of business for them.

“That will prosper, but it did not work in an MGA model.”

The newly combined business will offer products to brokers – such as agriculture, property and terrorism – while also helping brokers with scheme risks.

Separately, Geo will continue to have a strong scheme business that goes directly to customers.

Dilley said the refocused Geo would not write large volumes of vanilla products, rather it was about offering something different in schemes and specialist areas.

‘We want to be famous for what we do. If we say we are going to do something, we will do it,” he said.

An important part of Coles agenda will be simplifying the current software platforms being used.

This would give a clear single customer view of those on their books. SSP Pure Insurance will be launched on Geo products soon.

Separately, Coles said he would be open to acquisition discussions with both schemes brokers and MGAs that wanted to take the next step in their expansion.