Is Westinsure for sale?
It has happened once and it looks set to happen again. Westinsure seems likely to be the next network swallowed up by consolidators.
Its managing director, Denis Morgan, denied rumours that the broker alliance has already been in contact with rival networks, but said it was not ruling anything out in its efforts to expand over the next two years. He added that he expects smaller networks and alliances to be unsustainable by 2010 - an ominous warning.
Morgan says: “Westinsure has always been alert to market changes and demands, and we have managed our critical mass well over the last three years moving from £32m to £225m GWP with more than 120 members in the group. This has been achieved without the need to resort to venture capital or exposing the business to any significant debt.”
He adds: “Fortunately, our particular success in 2007 means that we are now well capitalised. We are therefore in a good position to take advantage of the right options for our business, our members and our shareholders.”
Other network bosses have different views as to whether networks will continue to consolidate.
Mark Radburn, managing director of the Willis Commercial Network, said: “In my view a number of networks are being set up purely as a means to make their owners wealthy. Which means they have to eventually sell the business. Therefore, it is very likely that consolidation amongst networks will continue.”
Will only the largest networks survive? It is beginning to look that way.