Mike Bruce says the move signals GRP’s ‘intention to accelerate our growth trajectory’

GRP has entered the health insurance sector with its first acquisition since private equity firm Searchlight bought a majority stake in the business earlier this month.

Under new group chief executive Mike Bruce, GRP has bought healthcare broker Premier Choice Healthcare (PCH), pending regulatory approval - GRP’s head of M&A Stephen Ross said PCH will become the first in GRP’s new healthcare hub.

He continued: “Our intention is to drive further acquisitions of healthcare businesses and portfolios, expanding our overall proposition to offer both new and existing clients a suite of healthcare products alongside our existing services.

“We believe that there is significant M&A opportunity in the healthcare market. We are keen to mirror the acquisition success we have had in the UK regional general insurance market.

“With Searchlight’s support and their significant capital backing, we intend to rapidly grow our market footprint and have already developed a strong pipeline of transactions.”

New sector

PCH, founded in 1996, controls circa £60m of gross written premium (GWP) across a full suite of group risk and protection products for SMEs and individual customers. Based in Towcester, Northamptonshire, the firm has 25 employees, led by managing director Claire Ginnelly, who will remain with the business following the acquisition.

Ginnelly will work alongside operations director Teresa Ostle, as well as new hire Richard Holden, acting as commercial director.

Ginnelly said: “After 25 years as a successful independent, we wanted to push ourselves to the next stage of growth, and are very excited to be joining GRP as the healthcare hub with a clear brief to accelerate the healthcare operation.

“We were impressed by the resources that GRP can make available to us for acquisitions and our reach will grow exponentially by developing our links with the other hubs in GRP’s retail division.

“Our focus will be on growing our business organically and by acquisition. As part of GRP, we remain committed to our current distribution channels and the range of products we advise on.”

Mike Bruce, GRP’s group chief executive, added: “I am delighted to welcome Claire, Teresa, Richard and all the PCH team to GRP, especially as it is our first deal in the healthcare sector. It signposts our intention to accelerate our growth trajectory following the Searchlight investment and we look forward to rapidly [developing] in this sector.”