Global Risk Partners (GRP) has entered into an agreement with Willis Towers Watson (WTW) to acquire WTW’s commercial risk and broking business in Northern Ireland.
On completion, the £57m gross written premium (GWP) portfolio will be integrated into ABL Group, GRP’s Northern Ireland brokerage, with ABL’s CEO Maurice Boyd heading up the combined organisation.
All WTW staff involved with the portfolio will move to ABL following completion of the agreement.
Maurice Boyd said: “This is a fantastic deal for ABL and GRP. Not only is the portfolio made up of high-quality commercial business and an excellent team, it underlines the importance the group attaches to Northern Ireland and our confidence in the future prospects for Northern Ireland business and the economy.
“The acquisition follows a number of recent deals completed by ABL, which combined with organic growth has taken total GWP to well over £50m. We have now smashed through the £100m GWP barrier and we have every intention of building on that with the strength and muscle from the new combined business.”
Speaking about the acquisition, Brian Curtis, Head of Ireland, Willis Towers Watson, said: “I’m impressed by ABL’s vision for the business, their commitment to our colleagues, and their focus on giving clients the very best product and service proposition. I am confident our clients and colleagues will benefit greatly from the strengths of ABL and the wider GRP group.”
GRP’s Group CEO Mike Bruce said: “As well as being a coup for GRP, this is a great deal for Maurice and ABL and will give them the leading position in Northern Ireland broking.”
He added: “There is no waning in our M&A appetite and we remain very focused on our acquisition strategy across the UK and Ireland.”
“The pandemic and subsequent disruption has challenged our ambitions, but through a combination of single-minded determination, client focus and astute deal-making we continue to generate powerful momentum and excellent results for our investors and insurer partners.”
The deal does not include any part of WTW’s Human Capital & Benefits business in Northern Ireland or any operations in the Republic of Ireland. The deal consideration is undisclosed.
ABL Group is a leading independent broker in Northern Ireland. ABL is headquartered in Belfast, looking after over £50m premium income. ABL is led by CEO Maurice Boyd, and MD Stephen Carlisle. In 2015 ABL became a part of the GRP Group, one of the largest independent brokers in the UK.
ABL has experience in integrating acquired teams and significant books of business, having previously acquired brokers Digney Grant and McGrady Insurance.
GRP was founded in 2013 and has grown rapidly to become one of the UK’s largest independent insurance intermediaries.
GRP operates retail broking, specialist MGA, network and Lloyd’s businesses, enabling the Group to serve the growing insurance and risk management needs of its clients. The group acquires businesses, teams and portfolios that have niche, non-commoditised, specialty propositions and strong profitability.
In June 2020, Searchlight Capital Partners, a global private investment firm, acquired a majority stake in GRP.
Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 45,000 employees serving more than 140 countries and markets.
We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance.
Together, we unlock potential. Learn more at willistowerswatson.com.