The acquired business ‘will play an important part’ in expanding the broker’s footprint in the south west, says group chief executive

UK broker Clear Group has capped a recent flurry of acquisitions with the purchase of Bluestone Insurance Services, it announced today (26 September 2023). 

The purchase allows Clear to expand its footprint into the south west, with Bluestone’s Cirencester-based location and staff to remain in place once the deal is completed. 

Bluestone is a chartered insurance broker that handles over £5.4m gross written premium (GWP) annually and maintains specialisms across property owners, engineering, construction, fleet and commercial motor risk lines.

As part of the deal, Bluestone directors Pauline Rushton, Dan Ogden and the team of seven will join Clear. 

Mike Edgeley, group chief executive at Clear, said: “We’re delighted that Pauline, Dan and their team are joining forces with The Clear Group – Bluestone is a a great business, which will play an important part in expanding our footprint across the south west where we are actively seekin to attract other brokers.” 

Bluestone’s Rushton added: ”Clear’s culture and values were a major attraction when deciding to seek a new home for Bluestone – from the first conversation we were very much aligned. 

“Clear resonated with Bluestone’s understanding since it is important to ensure that our customers continue to benefit from the same excellent service and, similarly, that our staff are supported and invested in to maintain those high standards.

”Clear were an obvious choice, with an outstanding reputation for driving that organic growth.” 

A clear fit

Clear’s acquisition of Bluestone caps a recent M&A move that saw it also acquire Heath Crawford and Foster earlier this month (14 September 2023) and Miles Archer just days later (19 September 2023). 

Speaking exclusively to Insurance Times after the Bluestone deal was confirmed, Clear executive chairman Howard Lickens said that the firm’s recent M&A strategy was informed by two underlying motivations.

He explained: ”[Bluestone] is a modest-sized business but they know what they’re trying to do and they do it very well and I’m really impressed by the management and leadership – we will never do a deal just because of numbers, we always have to assess whether [any prospective vendor] will fit in. 

“Yes money and numbers have to work, but [the question we ask] is whether this is a business that we want to have in our business?” 

Lickens noted that while the deal was motivated by the desire to add quality people to Clear Group, the business was also motivated by “a geography play”. 

”We started out life in southwest London and have been gradually moving out into Sussex, into Kent and into the Midlands last year,” he explained.

”This year we’ve got into Yorkshire, so we’ve been gradually trying to open up the envelope – while I don’t quite think Cirencester is the west country, it’s moving out west a fair bit, so it supports us as we try and edge out and create that platform right across the UK.”