GRP has bought The County Group!

Global Risk Partners has bought the Crewe-based broker to be its North West regional hub.

Global Risk Partners (GRP) has bought The County Group for an undisclosed sum.

Crewe-based County Group becomes GRP’s second purchase in 2018 and according to the consolidator is the next major step in executing the group’s UK regional hub strategy.

The acquisition has received regulatory approval.

The deal follows GRP’s move – via its South West hub Higos – to buy GMMCommercial Insurance Services.

Mike Bruce, GRP’s CEO Broking, hailed the latest takeover as a strategically important addition to GRP’s portfolio of businesses.

“The County Group is a highly respected and well-known business and will play a key role in achieving our growth plans as GRP’s hub for the North West,” he noted.

Adding: “This acquisition follows the funding round we completed before Christmas, and adds considerably to our breadth and depth in UK retail broking.

“Our 2018 pipeline remains very strong and we anticipate making further deals this year, building on the 12 deals we completed in 2017, including acquisitions through our regional hubs.”

The County Group, which employs 278 people, is the largest acquisition in terms of GWP that GRP has made so far.

GRP noted in a statement that The County Group writes SME and personal lines insurance and delivered GWP of £72M this year.

Its other regional hubs include HigosAlan & ThomasGreens and Marshall Wooldridge.

County’s CEO Dave Clapp said the business, which continues to focus on a local service ethos, is now aiming to double in size during the next five years.

He added: “With the firepower now available from a business the size and scale of GRP we can accelerate our ambitious plans, something that was becoming more challenging with traditional funding routes.”

Peter Cullum is executive chairman of both GRP and Minority Venture Partners (MVP), which had been an investor in County prior to the acquisition going through.

The switch from MVP to GRP was also previously undertaken by Greens.

Clapp commented that having working closely with Cullum since 2014 he had bought into GRP’s strategy and “owner-driver philosophy”.

He stated: “We have seen how other businesses they have acquired have retained their independence and made significant strides forward as part of a bigger group, taking advantage of GRP’s support to deliver a powerful mix of organic and acquisitive growth.”

Peter Cullum
Cullum said: “Following a transformational year for GRP in 2017, we are marking the New Year with an important addition to the Group, building our GWP to well over £650m.

“We have high expectations for The County Group as the centerpiece of our North West hub, and look forward to further rapid growth, bringing benefits to customers, employees and insurer partners alike.”

The current management team will stay with the business as it moves to new ownership and there are no plans to change branding or staffing levels or location.