More than 20 firms interested in taking over Cobra Network member Riverbourne

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Two brokers have plunged into administration in the past two weeks.

Chester-based Astbury Wren & Company went into administration on 20 February, before tying up its sale to local rival Risk Services (NW), a commercial lines broker.

Fifteen employees are expected to be transferred, making Risk Services the largest independent broker in the Chester area.

In addition, Riverbourne Group, a Cobra Network broker, called in administrators on 19 February. More than 20 companies have registered an interest in acquiring the business. Final offers were made on 22 February, although full details of the final agreement have not been disclosed.

We’re continuing to trade as normal and have full FSA consent to do so.”

Andy Morrison, Riverbourne

Riverbourne office manager Andy Morrison said: “We’re continuing to trade as normal and have full FSA consent to do so. The staff that have remained have been absolutely fabulous. The support that I am getting has been immense.”    

The Caterham, Surrey-based business was founded by managing director Nick Plowman in 2002. In April last year, Insurance Times reported that directors Nicholas Jameson and Daniel Lane had quit Riverbourne to join Northern Alliance Insurance Brokers, with Plowman buying out their 20% share in the business.

lowman was unavailable for comment. 

But latest figures show fewer insolvencies in the financial broking sector. According to credit insurer Euler Hermes, the financial intermediation insolvency rate fell by 14.3% in a year, with a total of 227 insolvencies from June 2010 to June 2011. Euler Hermes said insolvency rates fell in January this year, and it expects a further 4% fall over the course of the year.

Pass notes: Insolvencies

Talk to me about brokers going into administration

Despite tough economic conditions and the soft market, brokers have performed well in avoiding insolvencies.

What about the wider industry?

The biggest insolvency in the insurance sector was Quinn. It was taken over in a joint deal between Liberty and Anglo Irish Bank in November.

Are any other insurers in trouble?

Credit card insurer CPP faces the loss of its banking facilities unless it can reassure lenders its business is secure. While not in administration, CPP faces serious challenges.