Insurer plans South West office

XL Insurance may open a South West office as part of ambitious regional expansion plans for its middle market business, according to Denis Burniston, chief underwriting officer for XL UK middle markets.

However, he added that plans were only at their earliest stages.

Burniston said: “There is an argument for an office in the South West. There is a concentration of business along the south coast of Wales. After the stagnation of industry, there has been a lot of regeneration and there is now a lot of activity. In Bristol and much of the Eastern corridor there is a lot of opportunity.”

He added that XL’s regional strategy was to attract business that would not normally be written in London.

Burniston also revealed that Terry Nichol, former managing director of claims at XL, had rejoined the company and would move to Newcastle as regional manager for middle markets, after working for the past four years for a broker in Bermuda.

XL is currently looking to base a technical underwriter in Newcastle alongside Nichol.

The company will operate from serviced offices while it searches for new premises.

According to Burniston, XL would be looking to work in the regions with the big UK brokers, as well as targeting brokers that used London market underwriters.

XL would also be looking at working with broker networks, he said.

However, he was keen to stress that XL had no intention of stepping on the toes of its broker partners.

“We are very keen not to cross over their supply channels,” he said. “We will not interfere with wholesale brokers that draw some of their business from regional brokers and networks.”

The expansion into Newcastle was XL’s first step outside London and into the regions in January.