MML-backed Innovu buys Goggin Insurance brokers

Deal will see Darragh Goggin become shareholder and director of enlarged group

There are about 1,200 general insurance and financial brokers in the Republic, mainly family-owned businesses. Photograph: iStock

There are about 1,200 general insurance and financial brokers in the Republic, mainly family-owned businesses. Photograph: iStock

 

Innovu, the private equity-backed insurance brokers group, has acquired Goggin Insurance Brokers in Munster for an undisclosed amount, as consolidation of this fragmented part of financial services continues apace.

The deal will see Darragh Goggin, chief executive of the 41-year-old company being bought, become shareholder and director of the enlarged Innovu group. Goggin Insurance has offices in Newcastle West, Co Limerick; and Listowel, Co Kerry.

The Innovo name stems from the vehicle that private equity firm MML Growth Capital Partners Ireland used to take a stake of about 75 per cent in Sheridan Insurances in early 2019. It went on within months to buy Wexford Insurances, one of the State’s leading equestrian insurance brokerages.

The latest deal, following a pause in 2020 amid Covid-19, will bring total annual gross written premiums to about €42 million and Innovu’s staff of insurance professionals to 120. The group, led by chief executive Ronan Foley, has previously stated that it wants to grow over the long-term to become a business with €250 million-€300 million of premiums.

MML remains the majority shareholder after the latest deal. “We intend to invest further to support the overall business to help it accelerate its growth plans, with further acquisitions planned in the near term,” said Shane Cooke, an investment director at MML.

Industry consolidation

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, continued on its own deals trail this week by agreeing to buy Waterford-based Hooper Dolan in a deal believed to be worth more than €60 million.

Elsewhere, US insurance brokerage group Brown & Brown struck a deal in December to buy the general insurance business of Cork-based O’Leary Insurances for a reported €100 million.