UK-based Ardonagh Group has acquired Envest, which includes broking arm Aviso and underwriting agencies, in a $482 million deal that propels it into the upper tier of Australia’s insurance intermediary businesses.
Envest’s Aviso network of broking offices across five states manages about $405 million in gross written premium (GWP). Envest also has underwriting agencies operating direct to consumer and in the intermediated market, containing brands such as Blue Zebra, Stella and Club 4X4, while the third pillar of its operations includes insurance-related investments.
The combined portfolio has over 550 employees and recorded revenue of $76.7 million for the financial year ended June 30 2021. It’s estimated Envest would handle around $1 billion in GWP across all its operations, adding to Ardonagh Australia GWP of about $600 million.
“This is a hugely complementary acquisition, aligning neatly with our group’s footprint both globally and in the Australian market, which has grown substantially since our maiden investment in Resilium in February 2021,” Ardonagh Global Partners CEO Des O’Connor said in a statement.
“It provides a proven platform to accelerate our growth ambitions in the region.”
Envest will be acquired by Ardonagh Australia, which will trade locally under the Envest name and be led by current Envest MD Greg Mullins. It will operate as part of Ardonagh Global Partners, which is led by CEO Des O’Connor.
Ardonagh says its other Australian assets – Resilium Insurance Broking and Epsilon Underwriting – will operate as normal and continue to be led by their existing management teams.
Adrian Kitchin, Ethos Broking Australia CEO and Executive Director of Resilium and Ardonagh Australia, will become part of the executive team within Envest. Paul Lynam will continue in his role as Chairman of Ardonagh Australia.
“I look forward to joining forces with the team at Envest and to execute our shared plan of growth through professionalism, service and innovation,” Mr Kitchin said. “We will continue to leverage our experience and connections as we embark on this exciting new journey together.”
Envest started in mid 2016 after acquiring broker and underwriting agency interests from Hollard and subsequently expanding the portfolio.
Mr Mullins, who co-founded the business as a private insurance sector investment firm, previously worked at Hollard and has more than 20 years’ industry experience. The Envest board also includes Hollard Holdings Australia MD Richard Enthoven.
“Thanks to the efforts of our colleagues across all the companies that make up Envest, we have seen a tremendous period of successful growth,” Mr Mullins said.
“We plan for that upward trajectory to continue, leveraging the global insurance relationships, placement capability and experience Ardonagh and its management team have to offer.”
Australia’s largest local broking groups are the listed Steadfast Group, AUB Group and PSC Insurance Group.
Ardonagh Group has been on a strong growth path in its home market and globally over the past few years, with the company last year saying it expected to continue executing a mergers and acquisitions and investment strategy “at pace” both in the UK and internationally.