Barclays Private Equity (BPE) sells business to US health insurer

Barclays Private Equity (BPE) has sold First Assist Insurance Services for £71m to US health insurer Cigna.

The figure is some way off the £147m BPE paid RSA for First Assist Group in 2003, although some parts of the business have been sold off during the last eight years.

Cigna is a US healthcare insurer with a market capitalisation of $11.6bn.

First Assist covers a broad range of insurance including affinity, health, protection, legal expenses and travel, employing 480 staff in headquarters in Sutton, Surrey, Plymouth and Bournemouth.

Martin Totty, group managing director of First Assist Insurance Services said: “Barclays Private Equity has been an excellent partner in developing the business over the last eight years, supporting us in building a profitable, sustainable business. We have made great strides in the travel insurance sector, gaining market share and improving profitability. Cigna is an excellent new owner of the business, bringing access to wider distribution and additional product lines and a long term commitment to growing the business further as well as extending FirstAssist propositions to other Cigna markets.”

BPE director Catherine Wall said:“The sale of First Assist Insurance Services represents the near total disposal of our original 2003 investment, and we are pleased with the results of our investment strategy to split the business into more specialist separate companies, and to find different buyers for each of them.”