Belfast Telegraph

Insurance firm set to expand after rival deal

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland's insurance market has seen the second big deal of the year so far as brokers Abbey snapped up another homegrown firm.

Abbey Insurance Brokers, which is based in Newtownabbey, has paid a multi-million pound sum for Open + Direct, a firm founded in the province that became part of English firm Swinton Group.

The combined entity will employ 420 people and have 200,000 policyholders on its books.

It comes two weeks after Ryan Direct Group (RDG) in Chicago bought Midas Underwriting in Newtownards.

Dawn McKnight, partner at law firm Carson McDowell, which advised Abbey, said: "We anticipate that more deals of this nature will be completed in the coming months."

Open + Direct was taken over by Swinton in 2009 as part of a £50m deal to buy Equity Insurance. Equity Insurance had bought Open + Direct in 2007.

January also brought a third deal in financial services here, with a six-figure shareholder buy-out at Keys Commercial Finance.

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