Ireland’s Innovu has been sold to US insurance giant Gallagher in a new deal for the brokerage market


Global insurance broker Gallagher has entered the rapidly consolidating Irish market with the purchase of Innovu, a private equity backed brand that has been buying local brokers for four years.

The deal, which is estimated to have cost Gallagher around €30m, will establish a local presence for the US-based broker, which already has a large office in the UK.

“The acquisition of Innovu Insurance provides the perfect entry point into Ireland,” said Michael Rea, CEO of Gallagher’s UK and Ireland retail division.

It is the latest in a string of recent transactions in the sector, with large brokers and private equity funds buying up smaller players with good income profiles and strong client relationships.

Founded in 2018 by Chief Executive Ronan Foley, Innovu was backed by private shareholders and private equity firm MML Growth Partners to acquire Sheridan Insurances, one of the largest brokerage groups in the North East.

The business quickly grew in size through a series of other acquisitions of regional brokers including Wexford Insurances, Goggin Insurance Brokers, Cullen Insurances and PE Kelly Insurances.

Innovu’s 135 employees serve a customer base of 45,000 and give Gallagher a solid foothold in a market characterized by significant merger and acquisition activity.

The company had a turnover of €7.9 million in 2020, the latest year for which accounts are available.

Quote Devil, the low-cost broker sold to the private equity group behind Chill Insurance in April, posted sales of €6.8 million in the same year and was sold for €30 million, figures show , which were recently released in a court case.

Other big deals last year included the sale of Chill Insurance and Gallivan Murphy – both for €100m – and numerous bolt-on acquisitions by Irish group Arachas and British broker Aston Lark.

Private equity and large international brokers are chasing more deals here, thanks to a highly fragmented market facing cost pressures from regulation. Ireland’s Innovu has been sold to US insurance giant Gallagher in a new deal for the brokerage market

Fry Electronics Team

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