NMJ Insurance receives ‘significant’ funding from Manchester-based Wilson Insurance Group

Two former directors of Equity Insurance Group are set to launch a new player on the high-street broker market.

Equity Insurance Brokers former managing director Nick Potts and Equity’s former acquisitions and insurer development director Mike Hutton are leading a new start-up business, called NMJ Insurance Brokers. It aims to build its own branch network of between 15 and 20 branches in the North of England and the Midlands.

The company, which hopes to receive FSA authorisation by September, plans to make a number of acquisitions after receiving “significant” funding from Manchester-based Wilson Insurance Group directors John Wilson and Gareth Hooper, who have both become non-executive directors.

Potts said the business would look to acquire brokers that have about £1m in gross written premium and with a 50% split of personal and commercial business. “Once we get three or four we will rebrand them as NMJ,” he said. The company will also have an online presence but Potts said it would focus on its branches and personal service. “We are passionate about branches and we do believe there is a place for them.”

Hutton and Potts joined Swinton after it acquired Equity Insurance Brokers at the end of last year, but did not stay with the business.

They both have solid backgrounds in the high-street broking arena. Hutton was managing director of Colonnade before joining Equity in 2001. Potts joined Equity in 1999 as managing director of its broking division. He was previously head of commercial operations at Privilege Insurance and operations director for Colonnade.

Meanwhile, Hastings Direct, which was acquired by the management from IAG at the end of last year, is also opening three new high-street shops in the South East after it missed out on acquiring Equity Insurance Brokers. It is opening its first branch at Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex – the same town as its headquarters. According to Hastings Direct chief executive Edward Fitzmaurice, this will be followed by a second branch in Guildford. The company is also considering a third branch in Newmarket. Fitzmaurice told Insurance Times that each branch would rely on a different concept.

Swinton, which has 580 branches, is the largest high-street broker in the UK.