’We can operate really dynamically when something comes up,’ says chief executive
Markerstudy is looking to create a personal lines player that can operate “really dynamically” in the sector and when new opportunities arise following its recent merger with Atlanta Group.
That was according to Markerstudy group chief executive Kevin Spencer, who said his goal was to create a “one-stop shop for insurance” that would be transacting around £3bn gross written premium (GWP) “very quickly”.
A statement released last week (15 September 2023) confirmed that Ardonagh had sold its personal lines broking business Atlanta to Markerstudy in a deal that would create a “major new platform” in the personal lines market.
This will provide a range of insurance products to consumers, including home and motor insurance, and will employ around 7,300 people across the UK.
Spencer said both firms had a “strategic view” of how the new platform will operate and would expand into servicing more product lines should the right opportunities present itself.
“If something comes along – and it’s opportunistic – we will consider it and that is the beauty of the combination,” he said at a press conference yesterday (18 September 2023)
“We can operate really dynamically when something comes up.”
Atlanta distributes a suite of products through household insurance brands, including Swinton, van specialist Autonet and motorcycle experts Carole Nash.
Meanwhile, Markerstudy offers omni-channel distribution and product proposition across motor, pet, home and commercial.
Ian Donaldson, chief executive of Ardonagh Retail, said the new deal would allow the two firms to provide a diverse product range to customers.
“That’s the exciting part, to be able to be wherever we want to be, whenever we want to be and what pace we want to be,” he said.
“Already, we are in a really good state of affairs across a very diverse portfolio of products and distribution.
“We can plug a lot more into that and that is something we will be challenging the teams to do.”
As a result of being able to be more agile in the market, Donaldson felt that customers would see increased benefits.
Currently, Atlanta manages around £1bn of GWP on behalf of 2.6m customers, while Markerstudy’s proposition caters to approximately 6m customers.
Donaldson stressed that the deal would provide more tools that would allow it to be “quicker, faster and sharper”.
“So, for our customers, I am really excited to be able to offer potentially more competitive rates and a wider footprint of risk appetite,” he said.
“For me, existing customers should be benefiting because of the investment that we want to do in Markerstudy systems that will be replicated in Atlanta systems.
“That goes across to millions of customers.”
And Donaldson felt that, in turn, acquiring new customers “should be easier”.
“Service levels, systems and the provision of self-service portals – all of this investment that we want to do in a much bigger environment becomes more efficient to do,” he said.
“I am really excited about that, from a customer point of view, and it is something that we will be focusing on a lot.”
The transaction, which values Atlanta at £1.2bn, will be funded by a new investment led by Pollen Street Capital and Bain Capital Special Situations.
Ardonagh will receive a combination of cash and a minority equity stake in the combined business, in addition to two seats on the board of directors.
Atlanta executives, including Donaldson, Craig Ball and Emma Rawlinson will join the Markerstudy management team as senior executives of the combined group.
Spencer said that the deal came about after finding that both Markerstudy and Atlanta had “enormous synergies” in terms of staff and products.
“It became clear that by putting these two organisations together, we effectively get the best of every single thing and can create this enormous [player] in the insurance sector,” he said.
“We have lots of potential investors and advisers that we talked to and as we went through this process, it became very clear that we naturally work together.”
Speaking about the future of the deal, Spencer discussed whether it could be a stepping stone into an initial public offering (IPO).
An IPO is when a private company becomes public by selling its shares on the stock exchange.
”We have got private equity investors and they will be looking to capitalise on the Markerstudy side and the Ardonagh side,” Spencer said.
”At some point, they will be looking to capitalise on their investment.
”Everybody will tell you that the size of this deal – it lends itself nicely to an IPO. All we do is run the business.”
His career began in 2019, when he joined a local north London newspaper after graduating from the University of Sheffield with a first-class honours degree in journalism.
Now working within the insurance sector, James has a particular focus on motor, M&A activity and financial reporting.View full Profile