Rugby legend Ieuan Evans appointed as non-executive director

ProtectaGroup, Wales’s largest independent insurance broker, is continuing the expansion of its commercial division with two high profile appointments.

As the firm continues its aggressive expansion into the market, it has recruited former CEO of Opus Holdings Ltd, Ian Brice, as chairman, and Welsh rugby legend, Ieuan Evans, as non-executive director.

Currently, ProtectaGroup’s commercial insurance business comprises around 25% of the firm’s business, and it is aiming to increase its share nearer to 40% over the next 12 months. This will be achieved through organic growth with the potential for further acquisitions in the future.

Brice has 40 years experience in the insurance industry and will be applying his knowledge and experience to expanding ProtectaGroup’s commercial division. Before his role as CEO of Opus Holdings Ltd he was chairman of the Willis commercial division.

He said: “To be joining Wales’s largest insurance broker at such an exciting and crucial time is a tremendous opportunity. As chairman, I will be providing the directors with strategic guidance on developing the commercial arm to the business.”

The company said that Evan's commitment to the Welsh business economy would compliment ProtectaGroup’s development vision for the future.

Paul Ragan, chief executive officer of ProtectaGroup, added: “As a company, we’ve always been well-known for our personal insurance products, particularly car and home, insurance, but we’ve been making significant headway in the commercial sector for some time.

“The commercial market is both lucrative and ripe for targeting, and should provide us with the enhanced income streams necessary to meet with our strong growth plans.

“We already work with a number of large commercial customers outside of the UK and we will be looking to strengthen this further by concentrating on capturing the commercial market in Wales by targeting SMEs with a turnover of between £2m to £25m.

“Our long term aim is to look further afield across the border once we’ve saturated the market on our doorstep.”

ProtectaGroup's decision to develop its presence in the wider commercial sector follows the continued growth of the business since the acquisition of The Broker Gateway in 2005. Since the acquisition, the company had grown its sales turnover by 20% by the end of 2006 and commercial premium by over £2m due to the success of specific commercial initiatives.

ProtectaGroup’s aims to increase its current group income from its current mark of £6m to in excess of £40m by 2011. Growth will be driven by its commercial business.

Ragan added: “We’ve appointed Ian because of his extensive experience in commercial risk management, commercial and personal insurance, as well as his in-depth understanding of the UK insurance market.

The company has 20 branches and employs 180 staff.