Witney insurance business snapped up by broking group

A Plan Insurance logo

Witney-based A-Plan Insurance is being sold to Howden Broking Group, which employs around 3,000 people working in 30 countries. The deal will create one of the UK’s largest insurance brokers managing more than £4 billion of gross written premium for 1.5 million clients, and operating from more than 100 locations

Carl Shuker will continue to lead A-Plan Group as CEO, reporting to José Manuel González, CEO Howden Broking Group. Chris Evans will become Chairman of A-Plan Group in addition to his role as Deputy CEO, Howden UK. Max Carruthers, Chairman, A-Plan Group, will continue to support the business after completion.

Howden, the international insurance broking group, which is part of the Hyperion Group,  has reached agreement to acquire A-Plan Group, one of the UK’s largest personal and commercial lines insurance brokers. The acquisition remains subject to regulatory approval.

Howden’s parent company, Hyperion, will become the fifth largest employee-owned business headquartered in the UK with more than 8,000 employees, including 4,500 in the UK.

The new partnership will bring together Howden’s leading specialty and reinsurance business and A-Plan Group’s best-in-class personal and commercial lines expertise, which it delivers via its established brands including A-Plan and Endsleigh.

For Howden the transaction means significantly broadening its retail distribution and specialist product capabilities in the UK and welcoming A-Plan Group’s best-in-class distribution model. This personal, service-oriented approach, delivered through its office network and digital and online channels, and backed-up by industry-leading data and analytics, has led to very high levels of customer satisfaction, driving high retention rates and low customer acquisition costs, alongside strong organic growth. For A-Plan Group, Howden is a long-term entrepreneurial home with complementary capabilities and culture, and clear ambitions to be the scale independent challenger broker.

David Howden, CEO of Hyperion Insurance Group, said: “I am thrilled that Carl and his team have chosen to join Howden as the place to deliver their ambitious growth plans in the UK.

“This is an incredibly important partnership for Howden and creates a significant opportunity to deliver a better and broader offering to both groups’ clients. Like us, A-Plan Group is a business built on a very strong culture of entrepreneurship with employee ownership at its heart and a relentless client focus. These values have ensured that over a period of more than 50 years it has been able to retain and win new clients by delivering to them the personal service they want whilst embracing the opportunities digital distribution, data and technology provide.

“Our combined groups will be a natural home for talent and entrepreneurs seeking a place to deliver the very best for their clients.”

A Plan Insurance Carl ShukerCarl Shuker, CEO of A-Plan Group, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Howden; it was instantly evident from the start of our discussions that we were very aligned on the central importance of people, clients and insurers, and that we would make for a very natural fit.

“Our track record of sustainable growth is something that we are very proud of, and we have huge ambition to take the A-Plan Group and brands to the next level, without diluting any of the values that have got us to where we are today.

“The markets that Howden and A-Plan serve are highly complementary, and our ever growing regional client reach and access will deliver considerable growth opportunity for the combined Group, and to our existing insurer partners.

“Being part of an entrepreneurial, international Group, is a really exciting next step for us, and we look forward to contributing to the delivery of Howden’s much wider ambitions.”

José Manuel González, CEO Howden Broking Group, said: “I am proud that our story over the past 26 years has been one of growth, expertise, value-driven acquisitions and above all, a focus on our people. We continue to build a business where entrepreneurial talent can thrive, with the belief that when they do, our people will in turn do great things for our clients. By joining with A-Plan Group we stay true to this story – partnering with a business that truly shares our vision and values. The completion of this deal sees us managing £7bn GWP on behalf of clients across the 35 territories in which we operate. Factoring in our Howden network – which grows that figure to more than 90 – it is a move that will cement us as the international challenger broker, offering excellence, expertise and a different perspective all over the world.”