New insurance company The Underwriter (TU) has completed a deal to become lead underwriter on Chartwell Underwriting's £14.5 million general liability book of business.

Lloyd's Syndicate 839 DJ Marshall & Others, whose managing agent is Chartwell, had held the lead underwriter role, but will now focus on Chartwell's professional liability account. It will also continue to underwrite general liability for Chartwell as a follow underwriter.

The new arrangement will take effect from February 1. Chartwell and TU are currently working on protocols for underwriting the business.

Michael Earp, managing and underwriting director of Chartwell, said: " We wanted someone committed to general liability in the future."

Andrew Pooley, TU general manager, said: "The arrangement will give us additional access to an important distribution network in the regional market where we can offer significant expertise in the writing of general liability business."

The move also coincides with a review by Chartwell of its broker agency base. Five years ago the Lloyd's services company had around 4,000 brokers - the figure is now down to 1,500.

Earp said: "We have an agency panel of 1,500 local agents and are analysing the profitability of each book to us. A lot need refocusing or re-defining."

He also claimed that while the overall number of brokers is unlikely to be reduced any further, a number of brokers could lose agencies while others could gain them.

TU became a fully operational insurance company last November with £50m of financial backing from Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.