Kent company added to insurance brokers' portfolio

Giles Insurance Brokers has begun its push into Kent by snapping up an Orpington firm.

Shephards is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in the south east, with clients from all sectors of business across the UK and controlling more than £14million in premium income.

The business employs around 50 staff and is Giles’ second acquisition in the region in recent weeks following the purchase of Godalming-based Sutton Barnard.

The two deals take Giles’ annual premium income to £275 million, and follow a £500 million private equity investment in the company by Charterhouse Capital Partners and Bank of Scotland Corporate.

Shephards’ directors Jeff Laidler, Mark Richardson and David Kinghornare staying with the firm while Mike Buckle is leaving to pursue other interests.

Giles regional managing director Howard Pearson told the Insurance Times that Giles was under-represented in the south of England and was looking to make further acquisitions.

"There is a huge potential for growth in the south of England and the acquisition of Shephards and Sutton Barnard will help us strengthen our pressure across the areas as well as bring on board a number of new specialisms," he said.

Other recent acquisitions include Birmingham-based Midland Risk Management, Robinson Leslie of Chester and DS Howell of Tonyrefail in Wales.

Giles was founded by Andrew Giles as Hayes & Giles Insurance in 1985. Giles Insurance was formed in 1999, when James Hayes retired. Andrew’s son Neil joined him to help drive the business.

The flurry of acquisition activity by Giles reflects a massive shakeup in the insurance industry. Towergate Insurance, based in Maidstone, Sevenoaks and Whitstable, is continuing to expand by acquisition and has made founder Peter Cullum one of the richest entrepreneurs in the country.

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