Abbey Insurance Buys Open + Direct
Abbey Insurance Brokers, Northern Ireland’s largest locally owned insurance broker, has today (1st February 2015) announced that it has completed the acquisition of the Open + Direct business from its current owners, Swinton Group Ltd.
The acquisition of Open + Direct greatly expands the company’s network of insurance branches and strengthens Abbey’s position as the largest locally owned insurance broker in Northern Ireland. The company will continue to provide customers of both companies with a competitive range of home, car, travel and van insurance, combining an increased high-street presence with a strong online offering.
Abbey Insurance Brokers was established in 1973 in Newtownabbey by George Storey, now Group Chairman. It now has 220 employees and owns and operates 15 Abbey Insurance branches in Northern Ireland.
Open + Direct
Open + Direct has been operating its consumer insurance business in Northern Ireland since 2000. It has over 200 staff and operates in 13 locations. Since 2009 Open + Direct has been owned by the UK-based Swinton Insurance Group.
All Open + Direct staff have transferred across to Abbey under the terms of the agreement.
Trevor Shaw, CEO of Abbey Insurance Brokers said, “We are very pleased that through the acquisition of Open + Direct, we have almost doubled the size of the Abbey Insurance Brokers business and extended our branch network right across Northern Ireland.”
Over forty plus years in the local market, Abbey Insurance has built a very strong business, focused on customer service excellence, which is demonstrated in the fact that almost 90% of our customers return to us year after year.
In order to secure significant further growth, we recognised the need to acquire another business. We looked carefully at Open + Direct and considered it to be a good fit with Abbey, in terms of its professional local staff, the strength of its operation and its geographical footprint.
Through this newly increased scale and the associated buying power, Abbey Insurance will continue to search for the very best insurance deals for all of our customers, now with an even broader range of insurance providers.
We would reassure customers of both companies that their existing insurance policies remain unaffected by this development. Our immediate priority will now be to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible for customers and staff. All Open + Direct branches and their staff will continue working under the same name in the short term, with branches gradually changing over to Abbey Insurance Brokers in due course. Customers are being kept fully informed.”
All Open + Direct branches and their staff will continue working under the same name in the short term, with branches gradually changing over to Abbey Insurance Brokers in due course. Customers are being kept fully informed.”
Finance for the acquisition was provided by Ulster Bank. Kenton Hilman, Head of Corporate & Property Banking NI, Ulster Bank, said: “We are delighted to support Abbey Insurance in their plans for sustainable growth. The acquisition of Open + Direct is an important step in that strategy, and we are happy to be working closely with them to assist a growing local business in further developing its presence.
“This is one of the largest transactions of its type to have taken place in Northern Ireland in recent times, and is a welcome sign of renewed appetite for larger-scale deals in the market.”
“At Ulster Bank, we have the people and the finances in place to give ambitious people and businesses the help for what matters to them. Our ambition is to build trust with all our customers so that we can best understand businesses like Abbey Insurance and fully get behind their plans.”
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