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Giant UK broker swoops for Australia's Envest

The UK’s largest independent broker, Ardonagh Group, has agreed to acquire Australian insurance investment and distribution business Envest for $482 million.

Brisbane-based Envest includes the broking network Aviso Group – which has itself expanded rapidly in recent years to manage $405 million in gross written premium – and 10 underwriting agencies.

The combined portfolio has more than 550 employees and recorded $76.7 million in revenue for the year ending June 30 last year.

Envest will be acquired by Ardonagh Australia, which will trade locally under the Envest name and be led by current Envest MD Greg Mullins. It will operate as part of Ardonagh Global Partners, which is led by CEO Des O’Connor.

Ardonagh says its other Australian assets – Resilium Insurance Broking and Epsilon Underwriting – will operate as normal and continue to be led by their existing management teams.

Adrian Kitchin, Ethos Broking Australia CEO and Executive Director of Resilium and Ardonagh Australia, will become part of the executive team within Envest. Paul Lynam will continue in his role as Chairman of Ardonagh Australia.

“This is a hugely complementary acquisition, aligning neatly with our group’s footprint both globally and in the Australian market, which has grown substantially since our maiden investment in Resilium in February 2021,” Mr O’Connor said in a statement.

“It provides a proven platform to accelerate our growth ambitions in the region.”

“Greg leads a highly experienced management team with deep expertise in the market and together they have grown a strong people-focused culture over the past six years.

“We look forward to rallying the scale and experience of the wider Ardonagh Group behind them as they continue to invest in and empower the best and brightest entrepreneurial talent in the Australian market.”

Mr Mullins says the announcement marks the start of “an exciting new chapter for Envest”.

“In Ardonagh we have found a strategic partner supportive of our ambitions, with a shared vision to empower independent broking and underwriting businesses to grow by delivering innovative solutions and the highest levels of service,” he said.

“Thanks to the efforts of our colleagues across all the companies that make up Envest, we have seen a tremendous period of successful growth.

“We plan for that upward trajectory to continue, leveraging the global insurance relationships, placement capability and experience Ardonagh and its management team have to offer.”