Drive to increase membership to 100 brokers

Willis Commercial Network (WCN) is to expand into Scotland from early 2004.

The move is part of WCN's drive to increase its membership from 58 to 100 brokers.

WCN managing director Mark Radburn said: "In five years we have grown to almost 60 members in England and Wales. It is natural to expand into Scotland. We are interested in the opportunities it has to offer.

"All the services and programmes we have developed, whether premium financing or working with different parts of the Willis Group, will be equally attractive to brokers in Scotland. And, wherever possible, we will also work with the local offices of insurers."

He added that the advantages over other networks were the association with Willis, the fact that WCN had

been in existence for five years and the commercial leverage that its large size offered.

Radburn denied that the move was a sign that the WCN was running out of potential targets in England and Wales: "We will continue to grow brokers in these areas over the next two to three years."

But he stressed that the network would not act as a "lifeboat" for brokers struggling to achieve regulatory compliance.

"Potential brokers have to pass a quality control test. Our targets are thriving brokers who want to remain independent and grow with the right backing. We can and will continue to turn quite a few people away.

"We currently have 58 brokers and we don't envisage more than 100. We will certainly be north of 80 members."

The average brokerage was £3.5m, said Radburn, but those below that would be considered if of the "right quality".

WCN has been in operation since 1999 and currently operates in England and Wales. It works with brokers who primarily handle commercial lines business.