Acquisitions on the agenda for the first time, says Open International chief executive Chris Guillaume

Open International plans to develop more complex commercial insurance products on its e-trading platform PowerPlace following its management buyout (MBO).

PowerPlace is currently used to trade £70m of premium each year with micro SME policies

The company, which was yesterday bought by management and Montagu Private Equity, currently trades micro SME policies up to a maximum value of £1,000 for property and liability policies.

Open International chief executive Chris Guillaume said yesterday after the MBO was announced: “Our plan is to really to push PowerPlace up the value curve of commercial insurance. We’re aiming for SME and towards complex risks.”

Guillaume stressed that the investment would not only be in technology.

PowerPlace is an FCA regulated company that offers services for insurers and brokers such as managing insurer agencies, cash collection and payment processing.

“We can invest in the service element as well as the technology,” he said.

The company also plans to promote its London market underwriting software business, Open GI London, and for the first time will look at acquisitions.

“With Montagu we are in a position to take a look at bolt-on acquisitions for the first time in seven years,” Guillaume said.

Personal buy in

Guillaume and the company’s five other executive directors all personally invested in the business along with Montagu, which is Open GI’s majority owner.

“We’re so confident of the plans that all of the management team have reinvested – and significantly more than last time,” he said.

The company had done a lot of work to prepare for a public flotation, but by Wednesday last week knew that Montagu would likely be the firm’s financial backer.

“We were all set for the IPO. It feels a bit surreal – it’s happened so quickly,” Guillaume said.

Montagu had invested in Open International for 18 months until it was bought by the management team and five original Towergate shareholders including Peter Cullum and Andy Homer with a loan from Lloyds Bank.

“That went a long way in cementing them as being the partner of choice,” Guillaume said.

: Join the debate at our Insurance Times Tech Forum on LinkedIn