Monthly M&A Reviews
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January, 2021


2021 got off to a busy start for Insurance M&A with 13 announced transactions, including a number of high-profile transactions on the distribution side of the market, with two of the major broking consolidators announcing a change of ownership.

Early in the month, Inflexion-backed Bollington Wilson Group announced that it had been acquired by Arthur J. Gallagher in a transaction valued at more than £200m. Less than a fortnight later it was the turn of PIB Group, which announced that it had undertaken a secondary PE deal, with funds managed by Apax Partners acquiring the business from Carlyle (who will remain invested as a minority shareholder) in a deal valuing PIB at more than £1bn.

In another high-profile deal in the month, leading motor insurer Markerstudy announced that it had taken a £200m investment in a deal led by Pollen Street Capital. Markerstudy completed its acquisition of the Co-op’s underwriting business at the end of 2020.

The month also saw a continuing flow of smaller commercial broking deals, with activity largely driven by the broking consolidators. Global Risk Partners acquired Birmingham-based commercial broker Newstead Group and, via its healthcare hub Premier Choice Healthcare (PCH), a book of healthcare business from SJA International. PIB Group acquired construction specialist UK & Ireland Insurance Services. Finch (part of Ethos) acquired Compass network member Headley Group, while Finch’s ultimate parent Ardonagh separately acquired PI specialist and Lloyd’s broker Hera Indemnity. Finally, US firm AssuredPartners announced that it had acquired Scottish broker Borland Insurance, and Heath, Crawford & Foster acquired both ABA Insurance Services and Bradshaw Bennett.

There was also continuing M&A activity among MGAs. Specialist Risk Group announced that it had acquired building & construction specialist GB Underwriting, and Newcastle-based Generation Underwriting Management was acquired by Arden UW, part of Willis & Company (the privately owned business based in Northern Ireland, not to be confused with the other Willis ..).

Lastly, loss adjuster Woodgate & Clark announced that it had acquired Manchester-based Quadra Claims Services.