Chippenham insurance agency sells to London company

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Chippenham
Chippenham-based Advance Insurance Agencies has sold to London-based The Jensten Group, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition, the second this year, is part of Jensten’s ambitious buy and build growth strategy

Advance, which has offices in Chippenham, Swindon, Westbury, and Trowbridge, presently handles £16 million gross written premium (GWP) and has 82 staff.

In addition to commercial lines activity, the acquisition brings Jensten expertise in sourcing specialist motor product solutions for niche customers, working with price comparison websites and online and offline lead generation.

Advance will form a centre of excellence for specialist personal lines within the group, enabling it to offer an expanded service to clients of its Coversure franchises and wholly owned broking operation.

The Advance brand will be retained in line with Jensten’s integration model. Matt Jones, presently Business Development Manager, will become Managing Director, and take over the day-to-day running of the business from Clive Woods who will move into a consultancy role for a transitional period. Director Sam Woods is retiring.

Jensten currently controls around £245 million GWP and has a publicly stated ambition to reach £500 million within the next three to five years.

Alistair Hardie, Jensten Group Chief Executive, said: “Adding Advance to the Jensten family is not only about supporting the continued growth of a strong local broking business, but also enables us to add new capabilities that further enhance our specialist insurance market appetite. Clive and Sam have built a fantastic business and their niche orientation fits neatly with our strategic direction.

I am excited about how we can take their lead generation expertise and apply it across our group to drive further organic growth in Jensten brokers and our Coversure franchise network.”

Clive Woods added:“We were attracted to Jensten by the pragmatic and efficient approach of the M&A team, the strong cultural overlap and their innovative and unique approach to buying brokerages. I have no doubt the clients, staff and business as a whole will flourish under Jensten’s ownership and look forward to working with the Jensten team to take the business we have proudly built to the next level.”

Advance is the fourth acquisition as part of the specialist broking and insurance group’s build and buy strategy. The deal follows on from the acquisition of charity and training specialist Packett & Sons earlier this month, and Derbyshire-based professional indemnity specialist HTC Associates and Lloyd’s and London market wholesale broker Senior Wright last summer.

Jensten’s insurance broking offering includes over 90 Coversure franchises, focused mainly on the small commercial insurance market and a wholly owned broking operation primarily focused on mid-market business. The group also has a wholesale operation made up of Policyfast, City Underwriters and Senior Wright, all supported by an in-house platform development business, Jensten Technologies.

Hardie added: “This acquisition, the second this month, demonstrates how compelling our alternative model and flexible proposition is proving to UK brokers. We are at an advanced stage to acquire a number of brokers over the coming months and see a clear appetite from brokers looking to find new investors and protect their hard-earned legacy.”