Ward Evans Group has opened a new office in Leeds to focus on retail and small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) business.

The broker group, which has offices in Bristol, London, Glasgow and York, plans to take on nine new staff this month and six next month to staff the new office.

Ward Evans Direct managing director Beverley Webster attributed the group's teleservicing growth to

the use of bespoke systems designed by its in-house IT team.

“These systems allow for the instantaneous quotation and issue of retail and SME policies, along with the tailoring of terms and conditions,” Webster said.

Group chief executive Michael Kenney said Leeds was chosen as the site for the new office because it had the fastest growing commercial centre in the UK.

“We expect demand from the smaller business sector for this sort of bespoke service,” he said.

“We're currently projecting staffing levels of around 60 staff and are always looking to recruit.

“We intend to grow into the largest independently-owned insurance brokerage in the UK within the next couple of years.”