Aon founder buys insurer from Lloyds

Michael Bow
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PAT Ryan, founder and former chief executive of insurance giant Aon Corporation, is set to snap up insurance provider Direct Group from the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group.

Ryan’s brokerage firm Ryan Specialty Group will buy the Doncaster-based firm from Lloyds’ private equity business LDC for an undisclosed sum, following regulatory approval.

Direct Group has a long relationship with Lloyd’s of London managing agency Jubilee, which is owned by RSG, and will give RSG additional scope in its managing general agent and third party administration capacity.

“LDC has been a key backer and long-term supporter of our growth strategy over the last five years,” Direct Group chief executive Derek Coles said.

“With additional debt funding from the Lloyds Bank Wholesale Banking & Markets team, we’ve been able to capitalise on acquisition opportunities quickly to develop and broaden our proposition, giving us a significant advantage in the market.

“We’re excited to be starting the next chapter of our growth as part of RSG,” he added.

Direct Group, which was acquired in a management buyout backed by LDC in 2007, has grown rapidly since the private equity group’s involvement.

It has boosted its workforce from 70 to 450 following the acquisition of four companies – Millenium, Evander Validation Services, Circuit and Simple Insurance – over the past five years and grown revenues to £20m.

LDC director Carl Wormald said the management team had built Direct Group into a business of “significant scale and expertise” since 2007.