UK General buyer rumoured to be considering the purchase of another UK distribution business

UK General insurance buyer

JC Flowers is rumoured to be considering an acquisition of UK broker, underwriting agency and claims handling company Ryan Direct Group.

According to Sky News, the US private equity big-hitter is plotting to buy Ryan Direct and merge it with personal lines schemes underwriting agency UK General, which it is in the process of buying, to create a UK insurance vehicle.

Ryan Direct Group is owned by Ryan Specialty Group, a broking and underwriting agency business set up and chaired by former Aon chief executive Pat Ryan.

A spokesman for Ryan Direct Group told Insurance Times: “We never comment on market rumour and speculation”.

If the rumours are true, JC Flowers would be the latest investment group looking to build a UK insurance distribution platform.

Credit investment firm HPS, formerly Highbridge Principal Strategies, has built up a UK insurance distribution portfolio consisting of Towergate, Broker Network, Price Forbes and Autonet.

UK General buyer JC Flowers has now confirmed its planned acquisition of UK General, one of three UK underwriting agencies owned by Bermuda investment company Primary Group.

JC Flowers vice-president Jonathan Cox said: “UK General is an important addition to our global portfolio of financial services investments. UK General’s innovative and diversified product offering, along with exceptional service, offers a compelling business model at a time of increasing demand for specialist personal lines insurance products. We look forward to working with the management team to continue growing the business.”

UK Genereal managing director Karen Beales said the JC Flowers buy was “a huge vote of confidence in our business, our brand and our people”

She added: “It strengthens our position as one of the leading personal lines schemes businesses in the UK and will enable us to continue with our strategic plans under the UK General brand.”