McLarens launches agricultural division to compete with Sedgwick and Crawfords, moving all Agrical staff over to the new business

McLarens, the global loss adjuster has announced its plans to launch McLarens Agriculture, a division offering specialist loss adjusting expertise to the agricultural and related markets.

To spearhead the offering, which will formally launch this quarter, McLarens has recruited Steve Smout ACII, FCILA, BSc (Hons) Agriculture, a chartered loss adjuster with 30 years’ experience and a specialist background in agricultural risks. 

Following the acquisition of rural adjuster Agrical in 2013, McLarens has consolidated its presence in the commercial farming and rural estates markets.

Steve-Smout McLarens (2)

Steve Smout ACII, FCILA, BSc (Hons) Agriculture, McLarens’ new head of agriculture

Now, with the formation of McLarens Agriculture, the business said it can refocus on this sector and at the same time align strategically with the wider UK operation.

Speaking exclusively to Insurance Times, David Gillan, executive director, McLarens said: “All Agrical staff are going to be incorporated into McLarens Agriculture. We recently lost a number of the Agrical team to Sedgwick but all remaining staff will be incorporated into the new Practice. We don’t expect any job losses or redundancies.”

Steve Smout steps in to take over

An ardent and experienced agriculturalist, with a mid-Wales family-farming heritage and a degree in Agriculture from Reading University, Steve began his career working on a large arable dairy farm, before moving into the supply and technical side of the industry.

He made his move into agricultural loss adjusting in 1990 and quickly became a director within the Agri-Business team at McLarens Capita. Steve has held senior positions, at both regional and national levels, with a number of major adjusting firms and he regularly handles high-value and complex losses.

As head of agriculture at McLarens, Smout will oversee a team of adjusters working across UK and Ireland, on the full spectrum of agricultural losses including property, casualty, revenue, equine and livestock.

One of Smout’s first priorities will be to complete the integration of the existing Agrical operation within the newly formed Agriculture practice, which will sit alongside McLarens Private Clients, launched last year to service the HNW and Estates sectors.

“Natural development” 

Steven Wallace, UK managing director, McLarens commented: “As our UK & Ireland business has evolved, we have built out a number of technical practices that are fully integrated within our business and deliver to niche markets the culture, service quality and technical expertise that McLarens is known for.

“The renewed focus and expansion of our agriculture capabilities within our family of McLarens specialist practices is a natural development designed to enhance our agricultural proposition to existing and prospective clients in this important market. I am thrilled that Steve joins us to lead the practice and I look forward to working with him and our clients in this space.”

Gillan commented: “Steve has a great reputation in the market and brings a high level of expertise across farming and agriculture. We’ve already received a high level of support and interest from insurers and brokers in seeing how we can build our agricultural practice with Steve at the helm.”

Smout added: “The business of agriculture is increasingly multi-faceted and continues to evolve well beyond farming, from farm shops and events to food production and distribution.

“Agri-clients require both a broad commercial loss adjusting skill set and considerable knowledge and insight about the markets in which they operate. McLarens already has a wealth of agricultural expertise, as well as experience and resources in tangential markets that may prove valuable to clients.

“I’ll be looking to build upon this existing capability, to ensure we’re offering genuine agricultural expertise across the board. I’m delighted to be taking on the role.”

Growth ambitions

McLarens has hopes to grow in the agricultural area, and become a true rival to those already well established in the market.

Gillan said: “We are looking to grow in this area, whether that be in terms of the quality of the work that we do and the different specialist areas within agriculture that we develop. We hope to be seen as one of the pre-eminent agricultural loss adjusting practices in the UK.”

Smout said the company will look to be competing with the likes of Crawford and Sedgwick in the agricultural space.

He identified a movement in the market which McLarens hopes to build upon and utilise.

”You are going to see a lot less adjusters in the agricultural space, but a lot more specialist teams and adjusters. There has been consolidation in farming and this will result in larger losses. That is what McLarens has identified, and that is what it wants to work on, and that is why they have brought me in.”