… and why they matter

1 Almost exactly a year ago, Willis group chairman and chief executive Joe Plumeri flew into Birmingham to open the global broker’s new office. The new office at 40 St Paul’s Place made waves in the Birmingham’s property market as the year’s biggest letting in the city’s Jewellery Quarter. The office was a highly visible statement of Willis’ push to raise its profile in the second city, which it asserted was ‘integral’ to its growth plans in the UK.

2 The shine went off Willis’s Midlands ambitions during the summer when Gallagher Heath announced that it had recruited four of the global broker’s Birmingham senior executives to join its Midlands operations. The swoop, described by worldwide property and casualty managing director Patrick Gallagher as a “great coup” has greatly beefed up the rapidly expanding Gallagher Heath’s credentials in the Midlands.

3 The death earlier this year of Perkins Slade corporate business director Damien Doran, aged just 49 years old, was felt deeply across the Birmingham insurance market. Doran, who died after several months of illness, had been a key public face for the city’s biggest surviving independent. In a sign of the esteem in which he was held by the city’s insurance community, one insurer said that half of the Birmingham delegates at this year’s Biba conference in Manchester returned home early for Doran’s funeral.

4 XL Insurance announced in June that it has opened a new underwriting office in Birmingham, the latest in a string of mid-market insurers to establish a foothold in England’s second city. The opening of a Birmingham office fits squarely with the Bermuda-based insurer’s strategy to expand its underwriting appetite to middle-market UK firms
with turnovers between £25m and £250m.

5 Birmingham was one of the first locations that Aspen opened up in after embarking on its corporate risk drive earlier this year. The Birmingham office is part of a new network of regional branches for the company’s regional platform, Aspen Risk Management, which is headed by Fusion founders Kevin Pallet and Geoff Crisp.