Insurance broker McGill eyes $1bn of Irish hub business after Brexit switch

Dublin unit allows firm to continue to offer services to clients in Europe

McGill and Partners  has dealt with more than €1 billion of premiums in its first 15 months of business. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

McGill and Partners has dealt with more than €1 billion of premiums in its first 15 months of business. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

McGill and Partners, a London-based insurance broker set up by former Aon group president Steve McGill two years ago, expects to handle $1 billion (€820 million) of premiums through its new Irish hub within the next five years, according to the head of the division.

The Irish unit, McGill and Partners Ireland, received authorisation from the Central Bank of Ireland before Christmas, allowing the group to continue to offer services to clients in Europe post-Brexit.

Stephen Cross, chief executive of the Irish unit and a founding partner of the group, said he expects to grow the Dublin operation from an initial five people to between 20 and 30 within 12 months.

“While the insurance broking business is often about buying companies and rolling up, we’re looking to grow rapidly through the acquisition of talent,” said the Irishman, who held a number of senior roles with Aon during more than a decade and a half with the group, until 2017.

Growth

McGill and Partners was set up in 2019 with backing from global private-equity group Warburg Pincus and has dealt with more than €1 billion of premiums in its first 15 months of business. Its staff count has grown to 275 people, including 100 hires during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Mr Cross.

The company focuses on complex insurance policies for clients spanning areas from property and casualty to marine, cargo, cyber and technology risk.

Mr Cross said the group expects to deal with $4-$5 billion of premiums within five years.

UK financial services firms have had to set up locally-regulated subsidiaries in the European Union following the end of Brexit transition arrangements in December, as the EU-UK trade deal did not cover services. Talks have only begun this month on how regulators on both sides will co-operate on financial services.

The world’s largest corporate insurance brokers are going through a wave of consolidation, providing scope for niche operators like McGill and Partners to pick up business. The planned $30 billion merger between Willis Towers Watson and Aon is being investigated by European competition authorities. New York-based Marsh & McLennan purchased UK peer Jardine Lloyd Thompson for $5.7 billion in April 2019.