Insurance firm swoops for specialist Manchester operation

Paul Raftery

Markel UK, the division of London-based Markel International which provides insurance, tax and legal services for SMEs, will acquire the online freelancer and contractor business of Manchester-based commercial insurance brokers, Caunce O’Hara, subject to regulatory approval.

As part of the deal Markel will acquire the freelancers and contractors business, for an undisclosed sum, while Caunce O’Hara will retain all broking services.

The team joining Markel will continue to support its 27,000 customers, from its existing office in King Street and will keep the Caunce O’Hara brand.

Chris Caunce will support the integration and growth of the transferring online business over the next two years.

Neil Galjaard, divisional managing director of Markel UK, said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming the freelancer and contractor team to Markel.

“This is an important acquisition and strengthens our existing presence in the online market, complementing the Markel Direct business and delivering to those clients that buy outside of the broker channel. It’s a natural fit and extension to our underwriting capabilities.”

Founder and director of Caunce O’Hara, Chris Caunce, added: “We have shared values with Markel and recognise them as a great company to take forward the online business that we have built.

“They know the market very well and have excellent tax and legal capabilities, which will enhance and deliver a compelling proposition for the customer.

“I look forward to working closely with the team in Manchester as we support in the transition period over the next couple of years.”

Caunce O’Hara was advised by Liverpool-based Weightmans in this transaction.

The firm’s Manchester-based corporate finance partner, Paul Raftery, said: “I was very pleased to have helped the owners effect the sale of this innovative online insurance broker business.

“There continue to be lots of consolidation in the broker marketplace and businesses like Caunce O’Hara, which successfully meet the online challenge, will always be attractive.”

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