Kerry-based insurance broker snapped up by US group for over €100m

Deal for Gallivan Murphy is latest in a wave of consolidation in sector

Kerry-based Gallivan Murphy Insurance Brokers (GMIB) has agreed to be bought by a private equity-backed US insurance broking group, called Assured Partners, in a deal believed to be worth more than €100 million, as consolidation across the industry continues apace.

The Killarney-based firm, which will continue to be led by joint managing directors and co-owners Simon Gallivan and Denis Murphy after the deal goes through, has been growing at a rapid pace in recent years as a result of its investment in its online offering and currently writes about €60 million worth of personal and commercial lines of insurance.

GMIB’s chairman and third owner, Tadgh Gallivan, will remain a non-executive director of GMIB and be “involved in identifying further opportunities for expansion in the Irish market place”, the companies said in a statement.

GMIB, which was founded in 1989, expects its workforce to grow from a current 85 to 250 over the next three to five years, according to the statement. It is generating about €15 million in annual revenues, the equivalent of 25 per cent of gross written premiums.

“Given the scale and resources of Assured Partners, this is a very positive development for existing and new clients of GMIB who will continue to receive excellent customer service and competitive insurance premiums,” said Mr Murphy.

Flurry of deals

The wider Irish market has seen a flurry of broker deals in the past five years as it followed waves of consolidation in the UK and North America. The ultimate backers of most of the purchasing vehicles are private equity firms. Assured Partners is controlled by GTCR, a Chicago-based private equity company.

The attraction for financial investors lies in the fact that insurance broking is a fee-based business that delivers steady revenues through the economic cycle, and strong cash flows that allow buyers to service the debt needed to finance further deals.

The most active dealmaker in recent times has been Arachas, whose name is Irish for insurance. Arachas itself was acquired in 2020 by Ardonagh, a private equity-backed UK brokerage group.

UK-based insurance intermediary PIB Group, also controlled by private equity firms, moved last year to buy three Irish brokerages, including Wexford-based Campion Insurance.

Mop up

Elsewhere, private-equity firm MML Growth Capital Partners Ireland has dived into the broker space in recent years using a vehicle called Innovu to mop up a series of businesses.

Assured Partners, founded just over a decade ago, is one of the fastest growing, independent insurance agencies in the US, Britain, Ireland and Europe, with a total of 8,500 employees.

“This latest addition to the group marks another important step in its growth strategy by establishing a presence and acquiring a scalable growth platform in the Irish marketplace,” it said. It follows recent deals in Scotland and several across England.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times

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