Belfast Insurance Firm Looks to London

WILLIS Insurance and Risk Management (Willis), one of the UK’s largest independent and family owned insurance brokers, has made two strategic appointments having set their sights firmly on London and on further expansion.

Jonathon de Mendonça joins the team as Group Market Management and Development Director and Mark Hicks has been appointed to lead a new London brokerage, Arden Insurance Brokers.

The Belfast based firm, which was established in Northern Ireland in 1978 by Robert Willis, has grown exponentially over the last five years and has offices in Hull, Leeds, (following the acquisition during 2019 of Hale Kavanagh Insurance Brokers under the Kennett brand), and now in London.

Jonathon joins from Willis Towers Watson, where he was responsible for overall placement for the WTW Network, part of the Retail division. He has 20 years of experience in insurance having previously held senior roles at Aon, Lloyd’s and Gallagher.

Commenting on his appointment, Willis Group Managing Director, Richard Willis said: “Jonathon has excellent relationships across the market and has successfully delivered solutions across a range of insurers and multiple product classes. He will be a great addition to the Willis family and will support our growth and ongoing acquisition strategy.”

Jonathon de Mendonça added: “Willis is a fantastic business, and I am delighted to be joining at this exciting time during the Group’s expansion into new product lines, regions and underwriting. In my role, I will be supporting the team on how we can ensure that our clients have access to a wide range of solutions and continuing to develop relationships with our insurer partners to enable us to do this.

“In these challenging times, Willis is uniquely positioned as it adopts a family run business mentality and has the capability of effectively servicing clients from SME to Personal lines and multimillion-pound multinational placements.”

Jonathon will have responsibility for supporting overall Group broking and placement, the management of insurer relationships, and ensuring the Group has access to a breadth of products and services for clients.

Mark Hicks will lead the London operation, Arden Insurance Brokers. Having worked in the industry for over 30 years, he held a number of senior roles in the London market. A 16-year career in Marsh, in major client and business leadership roles, saw him work as the Global Client Executive on a several major clients and lead the Marsh London City Office. In addition, he was one of the first recruits to set up PIB’s London business.

Mark said: “I’m delighted to be joining Willis Insurance and Risk Management. Arden Insurance Brokers, based in the heart of the London Insurance Market, will have access to both Lloyds and the wider company insurance markets. With a diverse client base, we will be offering insurance and risk management solutions in both a retail and a wholesale setting. No two clients are the same, but we pride ourselves on building trusted relationships with both our clients and partners alike. We believe Arden will be an excellent advocate for Willis.”

Richard Willis continued: “I understand that this has been a difficult and challenging year for many, but now more than ever it is important to partner with the right people and insurers and look for new opportunities. Mark comes with a great drive and enthusiasm and a great CV of client focused service and business growth. His recruitment is a fantastic leap forward for us. Mark at the helm of Arden is the first step in our ongoing growth plan where we have clear intentions on further key broker acquisitions in the London area.

“Our company is built on a family ethos, with an established reputation of understanding the many complexities of the industry to ensure we meet the needs of our clients. Across Belfast, Leeds, Hull and now London, we will be affecting change in the insurance market and bringing even more solutions to our clients.  We are delighted to welcome both Jonathon and Mark into the family.”

The expansion of the Group will see the Gross Written Premium (GWP) at £45 million grow to over £55m within the next 12 months.