Plymouth-based broker alliance is latest network to move towards consolidation

Westinsure is set to raise the for-sale sign as consolidation among networks gathers pace.

Denis Morgan, managing director of Westinsure, said the group was considering strategic leaps amid speculation that it has already approached rival networks.

The Plymouth-based broker alliance, which has more than 120 members, is thought to have targeted potential suitors in an effort to expand following the emergence of a rival network in the South West, the Purple Partnership.

A senior market source said: “I am aware that they looked. They approached all networks.”

Morgan denied making approaches, but said the group would consider joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions or partnerships that would provide opportunities to improve the business.

“There are a number of organisations in the market which might complement our business model well. We are not ruling anything out,” he said.

Morgan expects smaller networks to be unsustainable by 2010. “By that time, we believe the successful networks will control in excess of £1bn GWP.”

Further consolidation has been predicted by network bosses since Towergate bought Broker Network in November 2007.

Morgan said: “There is no doubt that Towergate is significantly contributing to the increasing pace of change in the market and we are considering some strategic leaps to get to where we need to be in the coming two years.”

Westinsure added 53 new members last year and has signed up two members so far this year, with two more set to join.

Morgan said he planned to organically grow the group’s GWP to £300m by the end of this year. GWP currently stands at £225m.

“The support we are receiving from insurers has demonstrated that our 2008 organic growth plans will provide us with sufficient momentum to exploit the right opportunities.”

He added that the group’s future would be discussed at its annual Expo in Torquay, which takes place tomorrow.

The competition: other networks

Broker Network: Grant Ellis, chief executive, 168 members
Cobra: Steve Burrows, chief executive, 126 members
Willis Commercial Network (WCN): Mark Radburn, managing director, 74 members
Layton Blackham Business Solutions (LBBS): Chris Blackham, chief executive,
50 members
Brokerbility: Stuart Randall, director, 22 members
Purple Partnership: Bob Parkins, managing director, 10 members