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New owners for county insurance broker

Henshalls Insurance Brokers has announced the company has been acquired by the UK operation of the fifth largest insurance broker in the world.

The Shropshire firm, which has its head office in Newport and branches in Shrewsbury and Stafford, has signed a deal with Global Risk Partners (GRP) which is a major force in the UK and Irish retail insurance markets and part of US broker Brown & Brown Inc.

Henshalls managing director Mark Freeman said: “We have operated as a proud independent broker since 1967 and decided that now was the right time to join GRP. This will enable us to continue our ambitious growth plans and expand our footprint in this area of the UK.

“In our discussions with GRP, it became clear that joining them was the best future option for our business, our excellent team and for our customers. The deal builds on our strong foundation of loyalty and commitment to the local community, and we’re looking forward to the next exciting chapter for our business.”

Henshalls was founded in 1967 and specialises in insurance cover for various industries including food and drink, manufacturing, construction, charities, sports, and hospitality. It also operates two other brands: Bayliss and Cooke in Stafford, and Coachline providing cover for buses, coaches and minibuses.

Following the deal, Mark and his fellow directors Martin Pitchford, Dave Williams, Anthony Hughes and Neil Atkinson, and their 42-strong team of staff will remain with the business.

Stephen Ross, head of M&A at GRP, said: “Henshalls is a really good fit for our business and gives us a valuable presence in Shropshire and Staffordshire.

“The Shropshire region is not widely served by brokerages so we are pleased that a company with the well-deserved reputation that Henshalls has achieved over so many years has chosen to join us.”

Hugh Strickland from Aaron & Partners led the legal team and Mark Bramall of Dyke Yaxley led the finance and tax advice for the selling shareholders on the deal.

The Henshalls deal is the fifth acquisition completed by GRP so far this year, including four in the retail division and a deal with Nucleus Underwriting. GRP has its head office in London and has ongoing plans to acquire brokerages right across the UK.

Pictured: Mark Freeman