This family broking firm has announced revenues of EUR 131m in 2016. Profits up by 7.3 % boosted by the group’s inorganic growth.
Even though he does not fear adversity, Eric Maumy, CEO of Verlingue is forced to admit: “insurance broking is suffering. There have never been so many external pressures on our industry, be it regulatory pressure, the disruption of technology or falling prices.”
Given all this, Verlingue is no exception to the rule. Although this Quimper-based company (Brittany) posted increased revenues of EUR 131m in 2016 (against EUR 122m in 2015) this increase of 7.3 % was largely due to inorganic growth. The broking firm collected premiums of EUR 1.4bn in 2016, a year in which it was concentrating particularly on implementing its new strategic plan that is expected to bear fruit by 2018.
This project was launched in March 2016 and revolves around three initiatives: growing the business in the regions by targeting SME’s in particular, expanding the group internationally and investing heavily in digital innovation.
On the French market, Verlingue has opened two new offices in Rennes and Bordeaux, which increases the number of its regional outlets to thirteen. A fourteenth branch office should open this year in Annecy.
As announced, a hundred new staff were recruited across France in 2016. The broker could well seek growth through the acquisition of medium-size French broking firms (with revenues under EUR 10m) in its desire to develop its business on the SME market. Verlingue hopes to double the SME share of its income from 5% to 10% by 2018.
On the international front, Verlingue has already had a presence in the United Kingdom with its subsidiary Finch since 2007 and has announced it wishes to expand into two other European markets. The first hurdle was cleared in August with the acquisition of the Swiss firm Advantis, a specialist in risk management and employee benefits. Eric Maumy has confirmed that “Our combined income in the UK and Switzerland amounts to EUR 14m, that is to say over 10% of our total business. If we succeed in what we are trying to do then the international share should climb to 30% / 40%.”
New web platforms
Investment in technological innovation is taking shape and this first quarter of 2017 has seen the launch of two new web platforms: one in the area of PPI (payment protection insurance) and the other in the real estate field. Eric Maumy reiterates that “even though macro-economic conditions are difficult, we will continue to invest even more heavily in digitalisation and in services. We are going for market shares.” The broking firm explains that it has tripled its investment in technology since 2014 and announces that it intends making new investments in digital platforms totalling EUR 2.5m in 2018.
By Mathieu Lehot