New chapter begins: Ardonagh completes Envest acquisition

Giant UK independent broker, Ardonagh Group, has completed its acquisition of Australian insurance investment and distribution business Envest.

Brisbane-based Envest includes the broking network Aviso Group – which has itself expanded rapidly in recent years to manage $405 million in gross written premium – and 10 underwriting agencies.

The combined portfolio has more than 550 employees, writes more than $800 million in premium and reported $60 million in consolidated revenue for the financial year to June 30 last year.

The $482 million deal was announced in November and completed in early February.

Managing Director Greg Mullins will continue to lead Envest, operating as part of Ardonagh Global Partners.

Ardonagh’s other Australian assets, Resilium Insurance Broking and Epsilon Underwriting, will sit under the Envest umbrella, operating as normal and continuing to be led by their current management teams.

Adrian Kitchin, Chief Executive at Ethos Broking Australia and Executive Director of Resilium, will become part of the executive team within Envest. Paul Lynam continues in his role as Non-Executive Chairman of Australian operations.

Mr Mullins tells Insurance News he is excited to get back to business under the new structure.

“The big change is that we have two new businesses in the group, and we are very impressed by those businesses and we are working together well.”

Mr Mullins says he still sees Envest as a “challenger” in the insurance distribution business, despite its increased scale.

“We try not to compete with the big guys in terms of acquisitions,” he said.

“There are plenty of other fish in the sea. There are some people we would love to be part of our business and we’ll go pretty hard at those.”

Mr Lynam says Envest is now a “meaningful player”, benefiting from being part of a bigger global group with access to London markets.

“We’ll be writing $1.6 billion in premium, which is significant and should be taken seriously,” he says.

He tells Insurance News reaction to the deal in the market has been “very, very good” and there is a strong pipeline of acquisition opportunities.

“We will be active for the assets that fit the profile we are looking for and our culture, right through 2023, 2024 and beyond,” he says.

Ardonagh Global Partners Chief Executive Des O’Connor says Envest will be given the support it needs to grow.

“We are ready to forge ahead in a new fast-paced chapter in our growth ambition supporting Envest’s drive towards further opportunities within the fast-growing and evolving Australian insurance markets and economies,” he said.

Familiar faces: Zurich names new chairman, directors

Zurich Financial Services Australia has appointed Geoff Summerhayes as Chairman, a year after the former Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) Executive Board Member joined as a director.

Mr Summerhayes will also chair Zurich’s other related corporate entities. He has previously served as an Independent Non-Executive Director on each of these boards since January last year.

Mr Summerhayes has extensive experience across the insurance, financial services and regulatory landscape, including as Suncorp Life chief executive, National Australia Bank regional GM and MLC Superannuation and Investments chief executive.

Zurich says former AIG local chief Noel Condon and consulting expert Mary Waldron have been appointed as Independent Non-Executive Directors of Zurich and its other related corporate entities.

Nicolette Rubinsztein has also been named as Independent Non-Executive Director of Zurich Australian Insurance, in addition to her existing directorships of other Zurich corporate entities.

Zurich says the appointments follow the resignations of former Chairman Paul Bedbrook and Non-Executive Director Elaine Collins in December.