Insurer will become lead underwriter for Northern Ireland broker

Liberty Mutual has bought Northern Irish broker Hughes Insurance and plans to become the lead underwriter of its £60m gross written premiums.

Hughes Insurance distributes one in five motor insurance policies sold in Northern Ireland and has a growing household and SME insurance book.

It employs 300 people across its headquarters in Newtonards and 11 other branches in Northern Ireland. The broker will continue to be led by chief executive Gareth Brady and his current management team.

The transaction is expected to complete on 1 July 2015, after policies underwritten by other insurers have transferred to Liberty. From 1 July, policyholders will be offered cover with Liberty at renewal.

Patrick O’Brien, chief executive of Liberty Insurance, Liberty Mutual’s Ireland subsidiary, said: “Liberty’s acquisition of Hughes and our appointment as lead underwriter will enable us to build a leading presence in the Northern Ireland market through Hughes’ established network.

“Liberty Mutual has a long history in Northern Ireland, having first invested in Northern Ireland in 1997 with the establishment of Liberty Information Technology, which now employs over 400 IT professionals.”