Belfast insurance firm Willis swells staff numbers to 100 with new acquisitions

Belfast-based Willis Insurance and Risk Management has acquired McCausland, Light and Rankin in Castlereagh and Hull-based broker Kennett Insurance Brokers for an undisclosed sum. Pictured are Richard Willis, managing director, Willis IRM, Kennett Insurance managing director, Nick Wride and Willis executive chairman, Robert Willis

A BELFAST-based independent insurance firm has announced two major acquisitions as part of ongoing expansion plans within the UK.

Willis Insurance and Risk Management has taken over McCausland, Light and Rankin in Castlereagh and extended operations in England with the purchase of Hull-based Kennett Insurance Brokers, both for undisclosed sums.

The deals bring together two of the north's best-known independent brokers and enhances Willis' presence in England, where it already has an office in Reading.

Both companies will continue to trade under their current names and existing workers will also be retained, bringing the total staff numbers at Willis IRM to over 100.

The firm has experiences significant growth in recent times, with staff numbers doubling in the last three years, prior to the two new acquisitions.

Willis managing director, Richard Willis, whose father Robert set up the business almost 40 years ago, said the two new firms would further strengthen the group's offering to companies across all sectors.

“We are delighted to come together with two long established brokers, each of them, like ourselves, have built up a strong client base over many years," he said.

“The acquisition of local business McCausland, Light and Rankin will further strengthen our significant presence in the transportation industry and broaden our expertise in the taxi sector."

"By acquiring Kennett Insurance Brokers, we are continuing our strategy of growing independent businesses and will continue the good work undertaken by Nick Wride and his team in establishing a solid reputation in east Yorkshire. It follows the opening of Willis IRM's office in Reading in 2015 and we continue to look for further opportunities for growth through strategic acquisitions."

McCausland Light and Rankin (MLR) was established in 1993 by Gary McCausland and operates from premises at Castlereagh Business Park where it employs more than 20 staff. Mr McCausland assured customers that the new deal would not impact upon current service offered.

“The success of McCausland, Light and Rankin has been due to providing customer focused personal services to all our clients. It is that customer service which has allowed us to enjoy an exceptional client retention rate and it is an ethos that is shared with Willis IRM. We look forward to pooling our resources to further strengthen our offering to existing and future clients.”

Kennett Insurance was set up in 1975 and employs 10 staff just outside Hull. Managing director Nick Wride said he was looking forward to a "new period of growth in the local market" following the acquisition.

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