The broker also has a goal to create the UK’s best broker following a spree of acquisitions 

Aston Lark has demonstrated “strong resilience” in its full year 2020 results, with its revenue increasing by 28% to £91.7m in 2020.  

Core organic commission and fee growth of 4.4%, which it deemed a “positive result” against the backdrop of the economic environment during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as a competitive market and hardening rates in certain sectors.  

Its underlying EBITDA growth was 26% on a reported basis, this was up 22% when adjusted to include a full 12 month of acquisitions made along with its associated integration benefits compared to 2019 on same basis.  

Peter Blanc, Aston Lark’s group chief executive, said: “2020 has been a year which we would never have imagined at the start. The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic across the globe has not only had significant human and economic impact but has also caused massive disruption for businesses. 

“Within Aston Lark, we acted swiftly to transition to a working from home environment to ensure the safety of our employees and we placed a key emphasis on maintaining close communications with our clients. 

“We have demonstrated strong resilience during the pandemic with our trading performance holding up extremely well whilst continuing to closely monitor our exposures to Covid-19 and we are working towards taking the best working practices to enable a new ‘normal’ for operations, balancing home and office working and improving quality of life for employees.”

It hired Robert Kennedy and Mark Nolan as chief executive and chief financial officer respectively in Ireland, and Warren Dickson as UK retail managing director to supplement its growth plans. 

Significant changes  

The broker made significant changes to the business last year within acquisitions, group integration related activities, and  strengthening the senior management team.  

Key highlights were:  

  • Eight acquisitions completed in 2020, a further 17 acquisitions undertaken in 2021, increasing the scale of the group’s retail, employee benefit, Ireland and London Market operations. 

  • Investment in a new joint venture to form a Managing General Agent platform that aims to invest in existing MGAs and create new ones with like-minded entrepreneurial teams and people.  

  • Recruitment during 2020 of a new group chief risk officer, a new chief executive and chief financial officer in Ireland, and a new managing director of UK Retail to strengthen the senior management team to support the group’s growth.  

  • The successful integration of several acquired businesses into the main trading entities within the group to provide increased efficiencies. 

Blanc said: ”The support of both Goldman Sachs and Bowmark has provided a long-term platform for the group’s growth plans that has been underpinned by the acquisitions we have completed to date and the healthy pipeline in train. 

“Earlier in the year in January 2020, we also strengthened the group’s executive team with the appointment of Ian Jacob as our new group chief risk officer to ensure that governance and oversight of the business remains proportionate to our growth plans.” 

The broker continues to be ”hugely proud” of its Chartered Insurance Broker status, while remaining keen to talk to like-minded brokers.

”Our goal is to create the UK’s most trusted Chartered Insurance Broker,” Blanc said. 

 Acquisitions, which share the broker’s passion for dedicated customer service are: 

  • London Market via Brunel Professions, ES Risks [6 July] and Incepta Risk Management. 

Founder and chief executive at ES Risks, Chris Hobbs, said: ”It has been a privilege to lead ES Risks to our current level of success and I look forward to our continued growth in the years to come.”

  • Increasing scale of operations in Ireland, via the acquisitions of Brady Burns Associates, North County Brokers, McMahon Galvin and D O’Loughlin and Co.  

  • Building the MGA platform via the acquisitions of the Magenta brand and Neon Sapphire.  

  • Specialisms in ndustry sectors such as super yachts and marine pleasure craft, property self-build and latent defects, motor trade, haulage and logistics, concrete and small holdings and farms via the acquisitions of CRS Yachts, the Haven Knox-Johnston brand, Sennocke, DNA, Risk Alliance, Premier Insurance Consultants and Isca Barum. 

  • Expanding presence in geographical areas across the UK, including Scotland (Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers), the Northwest (Premier Insurance Consultants), Midlands (Dunsby Associates) and Southwest (Venture Insurance Brokers). 

  • Increasing the scale of the group’s employee benefits division via the acquisitions of Private Healthcare Managers, Right to Health and The Health Insurance Specialists.