Acquisition deal snaps up specialist construction insurer

Leeds-based Avid Insurance Services Ltd has acquired specialist construction managing general agent (MGA) – Incorporated Insurance Group Ltd (IIGL).

The transaction sees Avid, which also has a London base, take a majority stake in IIGL, increasing the gross written premiums of the business each year to around £75m.

IIGL was founded by Mike Smith, Lyndsey Thompson and Dean Surridge in 2013 and employs 17 staff, based in Hornchurch, Essex.

It provides insurance across the construction sector, as well as for property, airside, health and safety and packaged business for SMEs.

Avid CEO Steve Gibson hailed the transaction as “very exciting for Avid and a big step forward towards meeting our medium-term growth ambitions.

“At a stroke we are adding more diversification by increasing our specialist product lines from eight to 12.

He added: “IIGL is a highly complementary business for our existing commercial portfolio.

“They have A-rated insurer support and share our underwriting-led business philosophy. They have built their success in construction by underwriting every risk themselves, which has underpinned their outstanding performance during the current hard market.”

Gibson said the 17-strong team, including underwriting manager Dean Surridge and head of operations Lyndsey Thompson, will all move across as a result of the transaction, and IIGL will keep its brand and office.

Surridge and Thomspon will become directors of IIGL and sit on the wider Avid Operational Board.

Founder Mike Smith will step down as CEO but keep a stake in the business, as will the senior leadership team.

Smith said: “This is a great deal for Avid and IIGL. Steve and his team have the same relentless focus as we do on underwriting expertise, deep market knowledge and profitable underwriting driven by data analytics.

“In a market where capacity is hard won, I am confident that under Steve’s leadership IIGL will accelerate its eight-year trajectory of profitable growth.”

Gibson said: “Mike has built a first-class MGA which will make a big and positive difference to our market presence, and I am especially pleased he is retaining an interest in Avid.

“Looking ahead, we remain open to acquisition opportunities where they make strategic sense for Avid, and, after recent successful hires – Steve Duxbury and Mike Patchett – we are also keen to attract more specialist underwriters with existing profitable books of business in niche lines who buy into our underwriting-led business model.”

Andy Marsh, founder of Beech Tree Private Equity, which invested in Avid in 2019, said: “This is a bold and exciting move for a top-quality MGA and exactly the kind of transaction we hoped for when we invested in Avid.

“I am confident all parties will achieve significant value from this acquisition.”

The acquisition has received regulatory approval and the consideration is undisclosed. The advisers for Avid were DLA Piper (legal), and Birketts for IIGL.