29/05/2013 - 15:16

Insurance group makes two acquisitions

29/05/2013 - 15:16


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Austbrokers chief executive Mark Searles.

Austbrokers Holdings has expanded its insurance underwriting agency business with the purchase of majority shareholdings in Perth-based Lawsons Underwriting Australasia and Melbourne-based Guardian Underwriting Services.

Austbrokers subsidiary Austagencies has acquired a 90 per cent interest in the two agencies for an aggregate purchase price of $9.94 million.

Austbrokers CEO Mark Searles said the acquisitions complemented the group’s ‘agency owner driver’ model whereby underwriting principals maintain a share of the business.

“With this transaction, we acquire two teams of specialist underwriters who will add a diversity of product and scale to our expanding agency business. These are attributes which have been the hallmark of our model that sets us apart from the competition,” he said.

Austbrokers already has an interest in six businesses in Perth – Austral Risk Services, Countrywide Insurance Brokers, McNaughton Gardiner Insurance Brokers, SRG Group, Strathearn Insurance Brokers, and Western United Financial Services.

Glenn Simpson, a major shareholder in Lawsons and Guardian, said he was attracted by Austagencies' track record and its ability to work with and grow and their partnered businesses.

“We just didn’t feel the need to consider the alternatives in the market as in our judgement, they couldn’t match the model and approach that Austagencies offers,” Mr Simpson said.

Lawsons specialises in labour hire, recruitment, group training and contracting from offices in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and Brisbane, while Guardian specialises in sectors including hotels, food outlets, group personal accident insurance and professional indemnity. 

The acquisitions will increase Austagencies' gross written premium to over $210 million on an annualised basis.

Austagencies managing director Craig Patterson said the acquisition of Lawsons and Guardian would bring the total number of agency acquisitions to seven over the past three years, in addition to the investment in six specialist start-up agencies.

“This will provide us further opportunities to support brokers in differentiating their customer offerings,” he said. 


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