JLT will continue to search for aquisition opportunities

Brit is the sole capacity provider for JLT’s managing general agency (MGA), Thistle Underwriters.

Brit chief executive Dane Douetil told Insurance Times that it was the 100% capacity provider of Thistle as JLT chief executive Dominic Burke expanded on his plans for the MGA during the broker’s half-year results meeting.

Burke reported a 12% increase in underlying profit before tax of £59.7m, compared with the same period last year. Six-month turnover was up 16% from £266.2m to £309.7m.

Burke said Thistle, which is now up and running, would be a key development.

“We have set a target of £100m gross written premium in 2011. That will come by new schemes and facilities.

“I will report back to the market every six months. We hope that it will come to the size and scale of business we expect.”

Burke said JLT had spent £70m on 20 acquisitions in two-and-a-half years and he would continue to hunt out fresh opportunities.

The latest was Ingham Underwriting in June, the Wolverhampton-based agency with a £19m GWP.

“We always have to be thoughtful,” Burke explained. “The firepower is there. It is important that whatever we buy is keeping within our culture. That is the most important ingredient to have a successful acquisition.”

Burke said JLT, which is aiming to expand its aviation and financial lines team, had its “doors wide open for people to join us”.

Its pension deficit increased by £57m to £86m as it suffered unfavourable movements in corporate bond rates.

In its company statement, it said that the market remained soft except in a few classes: “Our experience continues to be that insurance market rates remain soft in recent classes of business. In certain areas, such as catastrophe affected risk, credit insurance and aviation, we are seeing rates hardening, driven off the back of increased claims rather than scarcity of capital or a higher required return.”