Its overall aim is to create long-term value for its shareholders 

Loss adjuster Crawford and Company (Crawford’s) is actively looking to make further bolt-on acquisitions that add value in its chosen markets and lines of business.

The firm has made several acquisitions over the past couple of years. 

Crawford’s most recent acquisition of HBA Group – an Australian legal enterprise service - means it can expand Crawford Legal Services (CLS) in the UK and worldwide as it sees “significant opportunity” in this market.

Rohit Verma, chief executive at Crawford’s, told Insurance Times: “We have made three acquisitions over the last couple of years and expect to continue actively looking for value buys in our chosen markets and lines of business.

“Our goal for M&A is to create long-term value for our shareholders and broadly the enterprise. We believe in M&A that creates an outcome greater than the sum of its parts.”

Therefore, the loss adjuster has been focusing on smaller “tuck-in and bolt-on acquisitions” because it believes this creates greater value than having large footprint altering acquisitions in the industry.

Verma believes that these smaller, bolt-on acquisitions in the same lines of business add to Crawford’s capability quickly and are easier to integrate as they do not “have the same enterprise drag that large acquisitions create to release synergy savings and integration needs.”

A growing number of corporates and private equity investors are taking on bolt-on type portfolio acquisitions.

Starting as it means to go on

Verma continued: “M&A is an essential element of our capital allocation as well as [our] growth strategy.”

CLS has grown rapidly over the past four years and now employs 90 people across four UK offices.

Jason Spencer, managing director at CLS UK and Ireland, said: “Australia provides an ideal next step in our plans to create a global law firm embedded into a global claims management and outsourcing provider.

“This acquisition will enable both Crawford’s and HBA Legal to better meet the needs of our local and global clients. Working together, our aim is to create a leading legal service partner to our clients, with entrepreneurial spirit, talented people, solid financial performance and geographical reach.”

Relentless pursuit

In October, Crawford’s acquired a suite of services from a claims management leader in Chile, Crawford Carvallo, as well as the firm’s individual business units including Graham Miller, Crawford Marine and Transportation, Crawford Affinity Chile, Crawford Affinity Colombia, Legaltec and Quality Surs.

Speaking about the Chile acquisition and Crawford’s strategy, Verma said: “At Crawford, we are relentless in our pursuit for service excellence and are always looking to serve the needs of our clients where they need us most.

“Its exceptional level of market insight and specialist talent gives us the reach and agility to continue meeting the changing needs of the industry.

“We will continue to seek opportunities to bolster our presence across Latin America, ensuring that we deliver exceptional expertise, compelling claims outcomes and market-beating quality service that is the hallmark of Crawford.”

Meanwhile, in July last year, Crawford’s acquired Belgium firm Penta Expertise and Consult NV (Penta) to expand into this region and increase its level of expertise in this territory.

Earlier acquisitions, such as WeGoLook in 2017, have recently proved fruitful during the pandemic, with the loss adjuster seeing a spike of 800% in usage. This is because WeGoLook’s app allows customers to report and document claims conditions using their smartphones.