Insurance broker Lockton agrees Irish health and pension sector deals

Operation to buy health advisory consultant Total Health Cover and financial broker Ifat

Global insurance broker Lockton’s Irish operation has agreed two acquisitions since the start of the year, expanding into health coverage and pensions advice.

Lockton Ireland, which has been active in the market since 1982 as a general insurance broker, hired senior New Ireland Assurance executives Ray McKenna and Niall O'Callaghan last year to develop a strategy to get into the employee benefits space.

That new division has now entered a deal to buy insurance health advisory consultants Total Health Cover, which was established by Dermot Goode in 2010 and works with employers and individuals across the State to advise on health insurance plans and broader wellbeing supports.

Financial details

It has also agreed to take control of Independent Financial Advisory Trust (Ifat), a Dublin-based financial broker with a focus on advising corporate pension clients.

Lockton Ireland declined to give financial details of the deal. However, the company said the acquisitions, together with further deals in the works, should see the Irish business’s revenues rise to about €7 million for the financial year to April 2023.

The Irish entity, registered as Lockton Insurance Brokers Ireland Ltd, reported a turnover of €2.29 million for the year to last April, down from €3.49 million for the prior year, according to its latest set of financial accounts.

Gary Ennis is the head of Lockton's Irish general insurance brokers operation.

Employee benefits

Lockton's move into the space of advising companies on employee benefits schemes comes at a time when Mercer, Willis Towers Watson and Aon dominate the corporate end of the market and Irish Life has been active in recent years acquiring mid-market brokers to drive more business its way.

Mr McKenna said that an estimated 50 per cent of the two million-plus people in the Republic with health insurance plans overpay annually on their premiums.

“Many of these plans are financially supported by employers, so cost is a major issue in many companies,” he said.

On the pensions front, Mr McKenna said Irish employers “need truly impartial advice to navigate the imminent impact of EU pension legislation (IORP II)”, which brings a new layer of corporate governance and regulatory requirements to the pensions market.