Broker wants to open specialty volume division, hire teams and buy businesses to become £250m GWP broker

RK Harrison (RKH) is planning to launch a new specialty volume division and hire staff from the consolidators as it looks to double the size of its UK retail business within five years.

The ambition would see RKH handle £250m of gross written premium (GWP) by the end of its five-year plan, executive director of specialist markets Simon Trott told Insurance Times.

The employee-owned broker plans to invest “seven figures” to set up a volume speciality division focused on clients that spend between £500 and £10,000 on insurance premiums, which will start trading next year.

Trott said the new centre would blend the best parts of a traditional broking branch with the those of a call centre operation.

“The good points of a traditional specialist broker are that you design your product around the customer for those markets, and that you have staff with specialist knowledge,” he said.

“The call centre operation gives an infrastructure to generate new business enquiries. You can be specialist but if you’re not generating new business leads you’re not doing anything.

“And from a customer perspective we’ve got everything under one roof, from staff training through to the scripts we use and how we monitor customer satisfaction.”

RKH will reveal more details about the branding, location, and initial products from the new centre later this year, Trott added.

Team lifts

To reach its five-year targets, RKH also wants to recruit specialist teams and individuals.

“The thing that will excite us more than anything is specialist knowledge or specialist skills that take us into new and different markets,” Trott said.

Trott, who joined RKH in March after a decade at Towergate, said RKH’s culture and earn-out model for key executives made it an attractive employer.

“The culture we have within RKH is very, very different to that of the corporate world,” he said. “We absolutely do invest in people. We invest in the customer.

“We also have quite a healthy earn-out model for key executives. People who can come in and deliver results will get real equity in the business.”

Acquisitions

The broker will also look at “a small number of sizeable deals”, to reach its £250m GWP goal.

Trott described the ideal target as specialist and with a management team who wanted to stay on and be incentivised to grow the business.

Organic ground

Trott stressed that RKH’s organic growth would remain “a bedrock to the business”.  

Trott put last year’s 7.5% organic growth rate down to team hires, new distribution deals, and a client retention rate of more than 90%.

“When you’re in the 90s, it takes a lot of pressure off the new business model. And we have a very loyal staff base. We’re not suffering from teams walking out the door and taking business with them, which is a testament to the culture of the organisation.

“If you’re not growing organically in your own right then you’ve got a fundamental problem in the business,” he said.

RKH’s retail business currently focuses on private wealth, commercial insurance with clients who spend more than £10,000 and rural insurance covering farms and estates. Its 200 staff are mainly based in Bedford and London, although it has small offices in Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Poole and Perth.

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