Agent & Broker News

Howden acquires specialist broker Safeonline to boost cyber offering


Acquisition creates ‘centre of excellence’ in London to complement Howden’s global cyber capability

November 23, 2020 – Howden, the international insurance broker, announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire Safeonline, a market-leading cyber and tech specialist broker and Lloyd’s coverholder. The acquisition underlines the importance Howden places on this fast-growing product line and gives it an enhanced retail cyber platform as well as boosting its presence in the US wholesale sector. The transaction brings a team of cyber insurance specialists to Howden’s cyber division, immediately adding resource and expertise to its already significant presence in this market. The acquisition remains subject to regulatory approval.

Safeonline has a proprietary insurtech platform, iQ, which comprises online quote & bind functionality that distributes to both the UK SME and international wholesale sectors. This online portal provides capacity for SME retail customers and represents a highly complementary distribution model for Howden.

iQ also complements Howden’s existing wholesale cyber client base and offers the capability to provide ‘on the ground’ cyber quote and bind capability throughout the Howden office network globally.

Safeonline offers a range of product lines including cyber and tech, financial & professional lines, programmes & binders and contingency and is a member of the Brokerslink network. Its excellent tech capability will be rolled into HX, the Group’s data and analytics business.

Howden has recently significantly increased its client base in the UK through its agreement to acquire APlan, one of the UK’s largest, specialist personal and commercial lines brokers.

Charlie Langdale, Managing Director, Financial Lines says: “Cyber as a class has been growing strongly for us over recent years and this acquisition supercharges our growth in this important market. In a stroke, it gives us the ability to service retail SME clients and enlarge our US wholesale cyber book. It also means we can improve our service to large global retail accounts and grow further our Financial Lines retail capability.

This enhanced offering builds on our centre of excellence in London under the management of David Rees that complements our Global Practice Group, run by Shay Simkin, and will help us deliver even more for our clients.”

Chris Cotterell, CEO, Safeonline will join Howden as Chairman of its Cyber division and comments on the acquisition: “Having pioneered cyber insurance since 1999, I am delighted that the Safeonline team will be able to continue its growth and innovation in this sector. Becoming a part of Howden gives us the scale, resources and an international platform to allow us to take the business to the next level. We look forward to working with the Howden team to educate, protect and create solutions critical to businesses and individuals operating in this digital world.”

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