Insurer's parent in expansion drive
The parent company of a Belfast insurance provider has announced a further expansion.
Ageas UK has acquired Castle Cover Ltd, bringing the group's customer numbers to around 8m.
Castle Cover will continue to operate under its brand name and will become a subsidiary company of Ageas UK.
Ageas UK's existing retail operations consist of RIAS, Kwik-Fit Insurance Services and Ageas Insurance Solutions (UKAIS).
The company will now employ over 4,500 people in the UK, with 300 RIAS employees working at an office in the capital's Springvale Business Park.
Employee numbers in Belfast grew from 15 when the firm first set up here in 2000, to 265 in 2010.
Initially supported with funding and grants from Invest Northern Ireland, the RIAS Belfast office achieved 43% of the company's new business, home and motor insurance sales in 2009.
With around 280,000 customer policies, the reported revenue of Castle Cover in 2010 was £22m and would bring Ageas's total retail revenues to around £200m.
Barry Smith, chief executive of Ageas UK said: "The acquisition of Castle Cover gives Ageas an even stronger over-50s market presence, adding an established brand to our retail operation and enhancing our proven knowledge in this growing insurance market.
"This purchase supports our multi-distribution strategy and will build on our existing expertise which is focused on meeting the needs of this customer group."