Gallagher, a global insurance broker, has entered the rapidly integrating Irish market with the acquisition of Innovu, a private equity-backed brand that has acquired local brokers for the past four years.

His transaction, which is estimated to cost Gallagher about € 30 million, establishes the presence of a US-based broker who already has a large business in the UK.

“The acquisition of Innovu Insurance provides a perfect starting point for Ireland,” said Michael Rea, CEO of Gallagher’s retail division in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

This is the latest in a recent series of transactions in this sector, as large brokers and private equity funds acquire small players with good income profiles and strong customer relationships.

Founded in 2018 by Chief Executive Officer Ronan Foley, Innovu has acquired Sheridan Insurance, one of the largest brokerage groups in the northeast, with the support of individual shareholders and private-equity fund MML Growth Partners.

The company expanded rapidly through a series of further acquisitions of regional brokers such as Wexford Insurance, Gogin Insurance Brokers, Karen Insurance and PE Kelly Insurance.

With 135 Innovu employees serving a customer base of 45,000, Gallagher has a solid foothold in markets experiencing significant M & A activities.

The company generated € 7.9 million in revenue in 2020. This is the most recent year the account is available.

Quart Devil, a low-cost broker sold to the private equity group behind Chill Insurance in April, generated € 6.8 million in revenue and 3,000 in the same year, according to figures revealed in a recent lawsuit. Sold for 10,000 euros.

Other major deals last year included sales of Chill Insurance and Gallivan Murphy (both € 100 million), as well as numerous bolt-on acquisitions by Irish group Arachas and UK broker Aston Lark.

Private equity and major international brokers are looking for more deals here, thanks to the highly fragmented markets facing regulatory cost pressures.

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