GRP agrees to acquire Willis Towers Watson’s Northern Ireland Portfolio.

Global Risk Partners (GRP) has entered into an agreement with Willis Towers Watson (WTW) to acquire WTW’s commercial risk and broking business in Northern Ireland.

On completion, the £57m gross written premium (GWP) portfolio will be integrated into ABL Group, GRP’s Northern Ireland brokerage, with ABL’s CEO Maurice Boyd heading up the combined organisation.  

All WTW staff involved with the portfolio will move to ABL following completion of the agreement.

Maurice Boyd said: “This is a fantastic deal for ABL and GRP. Not only is the portfolio made up of high-quality commercial business and an excellent team, it underlines the importance the group attaches to Northern Ireland and our confidence in the future prospects for Northern Ireland business and the economy.

“The acquisition follows a number of recent deals completed by ABL, which combined with organic growth has taken total GWP to well over £50m. We have now smashed through the £100m GWP barrier and we have every intention of building on that with the strength and muscle from the new combined business.” 

Speaking about the acquisition, Brian Curtis, Head of Ireland, Willis Towers Watson, said: “I’m impressed by ABL’s vision for the business, their commitment to our colleagues, and their focus on giving clients the very best product and service proposition. I am confident our clients and colleagues will benefit greatly from the strengths of ABL and the wider GRP group.”

GRP’s Group CEO Mike Bruce said: “As well as being a coup for GRP, this is a great deal for Maurice and ABL and will give them the leading position in Northern Ireland broking.”

He added: “There is no waning in our M&A appetite and we remain very focused on our acquisition strategy across the UK and Ireland.

“The pandemic and subsequent disruption has challenged our ambitions, but through a combination of single-minded determination, client focus and astute deal-making we continue to generate powerful momentum and excellent results for our investors and insurer partners.”

The deal does not include any part of WTW’s Human Capital & Benefits business in Northern Ireland or any operations in the Republic of Ireland. 

ABL Group is a leading independent broker in Northern Ireland. ABL is headquartered in Belfast, looking after over £50m premium income. ABL is led by CEO Maurice Boyd, and MD Stephen Carlisle. In 2015 ABL became a part of the GRP Group, one of the largest independent brokers in the UK.

ABL has experience in integrating acquired teams and significant books of business, having previously acquired brokers Digney Grant and McGrady Insurance.