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JLT in talks to buy London broker

Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) looks set to continue its strategy of bolt on acquisitions after it emerged that the firm is in advanced talks to buy the London market (re)insurance broker Harman Wicks & Swayne (HWS).

The Insurance Insider understands that heads of agreement, outlining details of the sale, may have been signed.

The HWS management team is made up of deputy chairman, Chris Harman and two managing directors, Ian Wicks and Bradley Maltese.

It is understood that Maltese may head up JLT Re in London reporting to JLT Re chairman and CEO Alan Griffin, if the deal goes through.

HWS says its 2006 income was around £8.7mn across its three operating units -  Harman Wicks & Swayne Ltd dedicated to reinsurance business, representing 53 percent of turnover (around £4.6mn revenue) and two insurance divisions, Harman Kemp North America Ltd (29 percent – around £2.5mn) and Harman Wicks & Swayne International Ltd focusing on UK and international business (18 percent – around £1.6mn in revenue).

HWS specialises in a number of lines including US commercial property, liability, contractors, all risks, personal accident and professional indemnity and writes mainly retrocessional business.

JLT and HWS declined to comment on the deal.

The acquisition plan is in line with JLT’s strategy of making strategic acquisitions following the retail business purchases of the Polish, Spanish and Italian operations of SIACI and Pavilion Insurance Network last year. It has highlighted its reinsurance arm as one of its target growth areas.

In 2007, JLT withdrew from talks to acquire Heath Lambert and, more recently, it was linked to London market broker FirstCity.

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