South-West network plans move into 'enemy' territory

Competition among broker networks is set to intensify after Westinsure announced plans to expand beyond its heartland in South West England.

The Plymouth-based network has signed up 14 new members in the region since it began a marketing campaign in March.

Now the success of the campaign has spurred the network to look to new members across the whole of England.

Westinsure operations director Denis Morgan said the network would look for new members, including smaller brokers, from outside the UK's city hubs.

"We will start along the coastline, and then begin targeting East Anglia, north of the Midlands and Yorkshire," he said.

"We are currently writing £85m gross written premiums (GWP) and we will be in excess of £100m by the end of 2005.

We will double our size in the next two years."

Westinsure also plans to open two new offices, the first in Swindon and a second in the North, which would be close to the region's member offices.

Morgan said Westinsure would look to build up its book of community brokers which place GWP of between £1m and £6m. As well as targeting new members it will encourage smaller brokers to approach the network with their own propositions.

"We are not ruling anything out; we want people to come to us," he said. "Insurance companies say small brokers are costly to deal with - we want to take that argument away from them."

Morgan added: "It is our aim to perpetuate the ability of small brokers, because otherwise if you move forward ten years there will only be the big consolidators left."