Independent Insurance plans major expansion in Ireland


Independent Insurance, the British publicly quoted company, has generated new premium income of £1.25 million (€1.59 million) at the Irish branch it opened last December.

The group plans to aggressively expand its Irish operation, according to the general manager of Independent's international division, Mr Peter Hadden.

The general insurance group yesterday reported a 33 per cent fall in pre-tax profits to £61.5 million sterling (€101.5 million) for 1999. While operating profits were 25 per cent ahead at £69.8 million sterling, the pre-tax result suffered because of short-term fluctuation in investment returns.

Mr Hadden said the group intended to expand rapidly in the Irish market.

"As a group our growth is driven by profit. We aim to be the most profitable company, not the biggest or the company with the biggest market share."

Independent expected to be "a significant player in the Irish commercial liability and, in time, in the commercial property market," he said.

The group, which sells through a small number of brokers, is targeting medium-sized commercial business in the £10,000 to £100,000 premium bracket. In addition to commercial liability and commercial property, the Dublin branch is marketing home insurance for high-net-worth individuals and some niche motor insurance products. Risk management advice and solutions are an integral part of the Independent insurance package, with each risk evaluated and assessed to reduce claims and claims management expenses.

Independent was already generating about £10 million worth of premium income from the Irish market through its London office before it established its first branch in Ireland. In coming months its Irish expansion will include bringing its Dublin team to 18 employees (currently 16).