AXA’s insurance broking arm Venture Preference (VP) surpassed the £500m premium income mark with the acquisition of the Health Insurance Group (THIG).

THIG, which was purchased for an undisclosed sum, is an independent UK private medical intermediary generating £45m of gross premium income.

The purchase propels Venture Preference into the private medical insurance (PMI) market.

VP joint chief executive Chris Blackham said: “The acquisition of the Health Insurance Group is excellent news for VP. By purchasing a significant health insurance intermediary we are taking an important strategic step in our distribution strategy.”

The division is aiming to control £1bn of gross written premium by 2010.

THIG also trades under the name Independent Sales Force Solutions and employs over 40 staff across its offices in Southampton and Sheffield.

The company will retain its full independence and will continue to trade under its current brand name following the deal.