Broker's underwriting business to take on two insurers to handle major risks.

London market insurers Brit and Mitsui Sumitomo have been tipped as the next insurers to join the panel of Willis's new managing general agent (MGA).

It is believed that the two insurers have agreed a deal with Willis to underwrite large risks up to £200,000.

In May, Willis signed a long-term agreement with a number of commercial insurers, led by Norwich Union.

The deal saw Willis agree to underwrite £10m worth of risks on behalf of the Aviva-owned insurer for the first year and rising up to £100m within three years.

It is believed that the deal was applied to all business classes, starting with small ticket, non-complex risks before considerably growing the MGA business and expanding to larger risks. The arrival of Brit and Mitsui is expected to signal the start of the next stage in the global broker’s expansion of the MGA model.

Willis UK chief executive Brendan McManus announced plans to develop an MGA in November as part of a multi-pronged strategy to diversify its UK operation. The MGA is expected to hand Willis a £13m profit by 2011. Willis and Brit refused to comment. Mitsui was unavailable to comment.

In a separate development, Willis has played down speculation that it has introduced a massive cost cutting exercise across the business. A source close to Willis said its chairman and chief executive Joe Plumeri was keen to cut the company’s expenses bill. However, a Willis spokeperson said: “Nothing has changed with respect to the way Willis manages costs. When Joe Plumeri joined Willis in 2000 he implemented a strict expense management policy which is still in place today. Our industry-leading top-line growth, coupled with our aggressive stance on costs, is why Willis is able to report the industry's highest margins quarter after quarter."