Insurance giant Travelers is to buy the UK’s biggest online business insurance broker for approximately $490 million, it was announced today.
The move will see Travelers acquire Simply Business from private equity firm Aquiline Capital Partners – which bought the brokerage in April last year.
Simply Business, which has over 400,000 customers, offers products online on behalf of a broad panel of carriers including Hiscox, Axa, and Zurich.
In the past three years, insurance premiums placed by the broker grew approximately 17.5% to £93 million (approx. $113 million) in 2016, Travelers said in a release.
“Simply Business is a profitable and growing technology company with impressive strategic digital capabilities, leading digital commerce talent and proven small business insurance expertise,” Alan Schnitzer, chief executive officer of Travelers, said.
Advancing Travelers’ digital agenda is a key strategic priority for the firm, as technology and innovation drive customer preferences and expectations, Schnitzer continued.
“As an important part of that agenda, we also look forward to working with our agent and broker partners as we seek to deploy Simply Business’ capabilities with them to make the small commercial insurance transaction easier, faster and more efficient,” he said.
Greg Toczydlowski, executive vice president and president of business insurance at Travelers, said the firm expects that over time, the move will provide it with “efficient access to serve the two substantial microbusiness markets in the United States and potentially other geographies.”
Simply Business will operate as a stand-alone business, continuing to partner with its panel of carriers under its well-known brand name, Toczydlowski added.
Jason Stockwood, CEO of Simply Business, called the deal a tremendous opportunity for both the company and its employees, as well as a “strong validation of our business model.”
He added: “I am excited about Simply Business benefiting from Travelers’ extensive knowledge of the US market as we develop our approach there, as well as the resources it has to support potential expansion into additional markets. Our shared values and commitment to innovation make this transaction a perfect fit.”
Travelers, which offers home, personal, and car insurance, had revenues of $28 billion last year.
The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017, and includes the repayment of debt and other obligations at closing.
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