Broker welcomes American takeover
Hughes Insurance has been bought by one of the world's largest insurers.
The broker of motor, van, household, business and travel underwriting is being taken over by US-headquartered Liberty Mutual Insurance Group.
Hughes distributes one in five motor insurance policies sold in Northern Ireland and employs more than 300 people at its Newtownards, Co Down, headquarters and 11 branches.
Chief executive of Liberty Patrick O'Brien said: "We are are pleased to confirm Liberty Mutual's continued commitment to Ireland.
"Over the past two years, Liberty Insurance has built a substantial business in the Republic of Ireland.
"I believe Liberty's acquisition of Hughes and our appointment as lead underwriter will enable us to build a leading presence in the Northern Ireland market through Hughes' established network."
Liberty Mutual has a long history in Northern Ireland, having first invested in Northern Ireland in 1997 with the establishment of Liberty Information Technology, which now employs over 400 IT professionals.
It is headquartered in Boston and operates in 30 countries around the world.
Hughes Insurance will continue to be led by chief executive Gareth Brady.
He said: "This is a great development for both our customers and our employees, enabling us to grow our business further with the backing of one of the world's leading insurers while maintaining our Northern Ireland identity.
"It also opens up a range of exciting opportunities for our talented workforce across Northern Ireland."