Howden dips into private equity war chest

Howden has dipped into its acquisition war chest to snap up Benfield’s US wholesale property and casualty unit.

Hyperion Insurance Group, which owns Howden as a broking arm, is flush with cash after private equity group 3i bought a £50m stake in the company earlier this year and handed it a £25m fund for acquisitions.

The Benfield acquisition will beef up Howden's US operations. The Lloyd's broker launched a Miami wholesale brokerage division in July.

But for Benfield it will be the second time in a month it has lost part of its business to rivals.

Earlier this month, Cooper Gay acquired ten members of Benfield’s wholesale and direct aviation team.

Benfield is on the verge of a £800m takeover by Aon. Aon refused to comment on the loss of Benfield’s US property and casualty unit.