While the broker’s results reflect a good first half, the UK market remains a tough place

Jardine Lloyd Thompson’s (JLT) global operations continue to go from strength to strength but its UK managing general agency (MGA) Thistle has suffered from a challenging UK economy so far this year.

An interim trading statement put out by the broker this morning revealed the group had enjoyed good organic revenue growth over the past four months, particularly in Latin America and Asia.

The latest update reflects JLT’s first-half results in which it boosted its revenue by 7% on the back of strong organic growth.

JLT has managed to offset the weak rating environment and tough economic conditions with an increased investment in the business and is continually looking for new opportunities and markets to get into.

Another bright light has been the strength of its employee benefits business.

Closer to home, however, Europe continues to be a tough place, particularly in the UK where pressure on consumers and small businesses have impacted on Thistle.

The MGA’s problems stem from lower consumer spending on high street goods, and a soft and increasingly competitive market. The MGA’s bottom line has also been hit by rising claims.

But JLT remains focused on turning Thistle around by investing heavily in its IT systems, improving its sales and marketing function, and building up its talent base.

More Direct Line shares on offer

In other news today, Direct Line Group’s parent company RBS increased its initial public offering of ordinary shares to 517.5 million, suggesting greater demand than anticipated.

The insurer, which floated last Thursday, will sell the shares at the offer price of 175p per share.

Whether Direct Line manages to maintain its successful start on the stock market remains to be seen, but all the signs are so far that investors have a big appetite for the insurance market.