’With us, they will be at the core of the business and a large part of the team will start managing the growth of the group,’ says chief executive

Academy Insurance Services will acquire broker Premierline from Allianz as it looks to expand the amount of commercial business it does.

Premierline, which became part of Allinaz in 2006, is headquartered in Lancaster and writes specialist commercial insurance across the UK.

It employs nearly 90 staff and deals with 17,000 clients, ranging from micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to large corporates.

The deal will see the business become Academy’s North West hub for commercial business.

Gilles Normand, chief executive of Academy, said the deal was a step forward in the firm’s buy and build strategy and a “key plank in medium-term plans to create a nationally respected brand utilising a hub and spoke model”.

“They have a very strong customer base and they are likeminded,” he told Insurance Times.

“It is very difficult to be a small broker in a gigantic underwriting group – you are not at the core of the business.

“With us, they will be at the core of the business and a large part of the team will start managing the growth of the group.

“It is a win-win situation. Allianz have been very supportive and we have a good relationship with them.”

Commercial lines

As part of the deal, the Premierline brand and offices will not change.

Normand felt that the firm becoming a commercial excellence hub would help Academy on its journey to focus more on commercial and niche businesses.

“Our expectation is to be, probably at the end of the year, doing three quarters of our business on commercial lines and one quarter in personal lines,” he said.

And he felt that Premierline “will become part of a purpose-led business that ensures that our customers are well-protected when they need us”.

“In five years, we intend to become the market benchmark for impeccable service to customers,” he added.

“The Premierline team are hugely valuable to us. Their skillset complements the Academy Group and will enable us to accelerate our growth plan.”

Helen Bryant, managing director of digital and legal protection at Allianz Commercial, said: “Premierline is a well-established player and experienced insurance broker which provides a great service.

“Our decision to sell the business aligns with Allianz’s strategic ambitions and I’m confident that Academy Insurance is an excellent fit to take the business forward, building on the fantastic work that has already been achieved.”