Enfield-based John Ansell & Partners is Clear’s 24th acquisition

Clear Group has completed the acquisition of John Ansell & Partners Limited.

The deal is the first since Clear confirmed new private equity investment from ECI Partners, and is the group’s 24th acquisition overall since it established in 2001.

Founded in 1981, John Ansell & Partners is a niche broker based in Enfield dealing around £5m GWP. It has several specialisms including outdoor activity businesses, gym and fitness centres, wine and spirit trades and owner occupied blocks of flats.

Clear chief executive Howard Lickens told Insurance Times he is keen to add more niche brokers to the group, and that the addition of John Ansell & Partners fits ideally with their strategy.

He said: “There are over 3,000 brokers out there and I certainly don’t want to be competing with all those brokers over a single piece of business. 

“So if you can be in an area that is a little bit of a niche where you have a bit of a head start and can offer something different then you’re in a much better place.

“John Ansell & Partners is a great fit for our business. They will certainly enhance and grow our niche capabilities and help us deliver on our ambitious plans.”

Strategy

Clear has already completed two acquisitions this year, of Robert Alexander and Genavco. This deal takes GWP for the group to around £120m.

Lickens confirmed that with ECI financial backing the group would begin targeting larger-sized brokers, but would also continue to look at bolt-on acquisitions.

He said: “We do a range of deals. In the last year we’ve acquired a business half the size of John Ansell, and we’ve acquired a business about 50% bigger, so it’s right in the sweet spot for the size we do. 

“We’re doing deals for a couple of million GWP, and we’re looking at another one approaching £20m GWP. 

“That’s our territory. We’re not looking to buy enormous businesses, and we’re probably not interested in one-man bands, but we’ll look at most opportunities.”

The John Ansell & Partners team will join directors John Haber-Smith and Craig Smith at Clear’s offices in the City of London.

Haber-Smith said: “We’re delighted to be joining Clear Insurance at such an exciting time in their journey. Clear is the perfect home for our business and provides us the best possible opportunity to grow our niche areas.”

For more on how Clear plans to use new funding generated by the ECI private equity deal, see the exclusive Howard Lickens interview here.