Prestige Insurance Holdings Ltd, owners of the Abbey Insurance brand in the north, has completed a deal which sees US global equity firm Capital Z Partners Management take a majority share in the group.
Established in 1973, Prestige is the largest privately-owned insurance broker and managing general agent in Northern Ireland. Employing 519 people, it has operations across Ireland and Britain
Prestige Insurance Holdings Group chief executive Trevor Shaw said: “I'm delighted to welcome Capital Z as our majority shareholders. They are long term partners who bring a great deal of knowledge of our sector, along with funds for acquisitions and growth. This is a very positive move for our staff, customers and insurance suppliers.”
Jonathan Kelly, partner of Capital Z, a global private equity firm focused exclusively on the financial services industry, added: “The Prestige Group represents a great insurance platform for us, having strong distribution, particularly in Northern Ireland, with niche underwriting positions in the home and car markets, together with its own IT platform. We look forward to working with Trevor and his team to help it fulfil its potential.”
Together with its predecessor funds, Capital Z has invested approximately $2.9 billion in more than 40 transactions since 1990, including more than $2 billion in the insurance and insurance services sectors alone.
The business will continue under the existing local management team of Trevor Shaw as group CEO and Paul Hanna as chief financial officer, along with a number of other local shareholders.
But as part of the deal, company founder George Storey will retire from his role as chairman, remaining on the board in a non-executive capacity.
Phil Bunker, previously managing director of LV Broker, executive director of Churchill, and managing director of NIG, will join the board as non-executive Chairman.
Mr Storey said: “I'm incredibly proud to have built a business over 45 years which has attracted such high quality investment from an investor which sees its strength and potential.
"I am confident to leave the Group in the hands of a hugely capable management team and excellent staff, and I look forward to supporting the new owners in a non-executive role in the future.”
Prestige Insurance provides a range of end-to-end insurance services including broking, underwriting, software development and claims management, through its flagship brands which include Abbey Insurance Brokers, Prestige Underwriting and Covernet.
The deal has been approved by both the Financial Conduct Authority and the Central Bank of Ireland.