GRP Buys County Group as Acquisitions Continue

Global Risk Partners Ltd (GRP), the specialist investment vehicle for brokers and MGAs, has acquired The County Group.

Crewe-based County Group becomes GRP’s second acquisition in 2018 and is the next major step in executing the Group’s UK regional hub strategy.  The acquisition has received regulatory approval and the consideration is undisclosed.

Mike Bruce, GRP’s CEO Broking, hailed the deal as a strategically important addition to GRP’s portfolio of entrepreneurial businesses.  “We are delighted to welcome Dave Clapp and his team to GRP.  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 added:  “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 is one of the UK’s top 25 independent brokers.*  It was founded in 2003 by CEO Dave Clapp.  The County Group has since grown both organically and through acquisitions, thanks to the Group’s focus on high quality people delivering a great service to its customers.  It employs 278 people and won Insurance Broker of the Year at the BIA Awards last July.

The County Group writes SME and personal lines insurance and delivered GWP of £72M this year.  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 said: “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.”

He added:  “Having worked closely with Peter (Cullum) during the past three years, we are totally bought in to GRP’s strategy and their owner driver philosophy.  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 CBE is Executive Chairman of both GRP and MVP.  MVP provides funding for UK insurance brokers, including The County Group, who wish to release some of the capital from their business but continue to run the business on a day-to-day basis and stay in control.

MVP has been a minority investor in The County Group since 2014, and valuable links between MVP and GRP had already been established prior to this acquisition.

Dave Clapp added:  “The County Group will continue with its strategy of purchasing, nurturing and developing great businesses, increasing our footprint and delivering a high quality service to our customers across the UK with the support of the Group’s panel of insurer partners.”

The current management team will stay with the business as it moves to new ownership.

Mr 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.”

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