First South East acquisition boosts broker’s controlled premiums to over £300m

Oval’s acquisition spree shows no sign of slowing down, with the broker set to announce a move into the North West at the end of the month.

The news comes as the Wakefield broker announced its purchase of Williamson Moore in the South East this week. The acquisition gives Oval its first foothold in the region and brings its controlled premiums to over £300m.

Williamson Moore, Oval’s eighteenth acquisition, controls premiums of £25m.

Jeff Herdman, Oval Group managing director, told Insurance Times that its move into the South East and its forthcoming purchase in the North West were significant.

“Our next acquisition in the North West is interesting. It’s a nice sized broker and one which will help us to grow in that area. It’s similar to Williamson Moore in that it’ll be the first of its kind for us in the area,” Herdman said.

The Williamson Moore buy will add to Oval’s growing property expertise. In addition it will expand Oval’s expertise within the captives market.

The broker already has a captives portfolio through its purchase in November last year of Torribles Insurance, which also specialises in firework events.

Herdman added that the market would see further Oval acquisitions but they had to be of the right quality.

He said: “For us quality means good leadership and management and how long clients have been with the broker.

“We like organisations which fit our business model – and that can even be a £10m GWP broker.”

Meanwhile, Charles Knight, managing director of Williamson Moore, said: “Oval’s size will enable us to negotiate better deals for our customers and adapt to changes in the market.”

At the year ended 31 May 2007, Oval’s turnover rose to over £60m. On an annualised basis – taking account of companies bought during the year – group revenues now exceed £75m.