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Insurance broker Blackford doubles its headcount after 70% growth in business

Blackford managing director, Tom Aldridge, centre, with new hires Michael Gregson, left, and Nick Smith.

Scottish insurance broker Blackford has doubled its team since the start of the pandemic, after sustaining 70% growth across its commercial and newly formed private client practices.

The business risk specialist said it had been appointed by more than 150 new clients since March, with half the business being generated through its Aberdeen office.

Glasgow-based Blackford, which was founded in 2018 and also has offices in Edinburgh and London, now counts global tech firms, eminent fund managers, and renewables heavyweights amongst its customers.

The firm’s workforce increased to 18 this month, including the appointments of two commercial brokers in Aberdeen.

The staff at its offices in the city’s Marischal Square are all former Marsh (Central Insurance) employees.

Blackford has also opened a new private client division led by Michael Gregson, formerly of Oak Underwriting and TL Dallas & Co.

Firm planning to take on more staff

The firm’s founder and managing director, Tom Aldridge, said:  “Our model is to employ and develop top technical talent, and then grow the business by referral and reputation. We’ll leave the cold calling to others.

“We also match a service team to a client by considering the character of the brokers and their sector experience, as opposed to simply location.

“If the past 18 months has taught us anything, it’s that we can assemble a squad of experts, regardless of geography.”

Mr Aldridge said the group is looking to take on more staff this year.

He continued: “To deliver sustained high growth over the past 18 months has been undoubtedly tough but our ‘reputation and referral’ approach has certainly helped us, as well as focusing on some of the more resilient sectors such as technology, professional and financial services, construction, and natural resources.”

Blackford also announced the appointment of Nick Smith as a client manager, based at the group’s head office at The Garment Factory, Glasgow.

The number of independent brokers in Scotland has been decreasing recently.

Bruce Stevenson and Borland Insurance were acquired in the first quarter of this year by Goldman Sachs-backed Aston Lark and US Broker, Assured Partners, respectively. Aston Lark has since been acquired by UK insurance firm Howden Group.

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