Insurance Broker Verlingue Ramps up its International Growth

The family-owned group makes its largest international acquisition by buying British brokers ICB Group



Verlingue is stepping up its international growth. On Monday, the Quimper-based insurance broker announced the acquisition of its British competitor ICB Group, described as “a major player in corporate risk [in the United Kingdom] with nearly €100 million in negotiated premiums for its clients – mainly SMEs and mid-caps”.



The transaction amount has not been disclosed, but it is the family-owned group’s largest international acquisition to date and its second largest external growth transaction after the acquisition of French broker De Clarens in 2014, CEO Eric Maumy tells Les Echos.



The acquisition of ICB Group allows the ninth largest French broker to triple in size in the UK, with revenues now in excess of €20 million. Having first ventured across the channel in 2006 with the acquisition of Finch Insurance Brokers, Verlingue had until now only occupied “a modest position relative to the size of the country”. “Brexit is going to be an unfortunate reality. But we have huge faith in the English economy”, Eric Maumy reasons.



“Global ambitions”

This will be the business protection specialist’s fourth acquisition outside of France, after Finch, followed by the acquisitions of Swiss firms Advantis in 2016 and S&P in 2017. “We are in the process of Europeanising ourselves” says Eric Maumy. International business now accounts for 30% of the group’s sales, compared to 5% in 2016; the stated goal being to increase it to 50% “in the near future”.


Although it has “global ambitions for a second stage,” Verlingue is already planning further acquisitions in Europe, with a focus on Germany and Northern Italy.



Open to acquisitions in France

The group, led by President Jacques Verlingue, is also on the lookout for opportunities in France, particularly those “based on valuations”. It is already well positioned as a specialist broker (in real estate, financial institutions and life sciences, for example).
Having achieved revenues of €147 million (generated by corporate risk and supplementary employee benefits in equal parts), an increase of 12.5%, Verlingue is experiencing a “strong upswing” in 2018, states Eric Maumy.





Laurent Thévenin – @laurentthevenin – Les Echos