Campion Insurance to be sold to UK-based PIB Group for more than €70m

Deal is UK group’s third purchase of retail insurance broker this year in the Republic

Campion Insurance, one of the largest insurance brokers in the State, is set to be acquired by UK-based PIB Group in a deal estimated to be worth more than €70 million, as consolidation within the industry continues apace.

The deal, confirmed by PIB in a statement on Monday afternoon, shortly after The Irish Times reported the development, is the UK group’s third purchase of a retail insurance broker this year in the Republic.

PIB entered this segment of the market in April with the purchase of Wexford-based broker Creane & Creane and followed up last month with the agreed purchase of Waterford-based Oliver Murphy Insurance. The Campion and Oliver Murphy deals remain subject to regulatory approval.

PIB said that is has "several more acquisitions under consideration". The UK group, which was founded in 2015 and is backed by private equity firms Apax Partners and the Carlyle Group, entered the Irish wholesale insurance market in late 2017 through the purchase of Citynet Insurance, a Lloyds of London broker operating in the UK and Irish market. It followed up in 2019 with the purchase of another wholesale intermediary, Optis Insurance.


Family business

Established in Urlingford, Co Kilkenny, in 1984 by Jim Campion as a family business, Campion Insurance is a specialist in commercial and personal insurance as well as life and pensions. While representatives for PIB and Campion declined to comment on the value of the deal, industry sources put it at more than €70 million.

“I’m delighted that Campion Insurance will soon become part of the PIB Group which is a positive and exciting development in our history,” said Mr Campion (60), who will continue to lead the business with his existing management team. “It is testament to the hard work of our dedicated people and loyal customers who are behind our success to date, that we are in the position to play a key role in driving PIB’s expansion in the Irish market. We are excited about what lies ahead, and very attracted by the opportunity to continue our acquisition activity through the strength and scale offered by PIB.”

There are about 1,200 general insurance and financial brokers in the Republic – mainly family-owned businesses. However, the sector has seen a raft of deals in recent times, fuelled by strong valuations being achieved in the industry, issues over succession planning in some businesses, and the prospects of scale offering opportunities for back office and compliance savings. Consolidation has also been a big theme in the sector internationally.

Arachas, the acquisitive Irish brokerage group that was bought last year by larger, private equity-backed UK peer Ardonagh Group for about €250 million, has subsequently continued on its own deals trail, with transactions this year including an agreement to buy Waterford-based Hooper Dolan for a consideration believed to be more than €60 million.

Another driver of consolidation in recent years has been Innovu, the insurance brokers group backed by MML Growth Capital Partners Ireland.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times