Howden, the international insurance broker, announced it has reached an agreement to acquire Safeonline, a London-based cyber and tech specialist broker and Lloyd’s coverholder.

Financial details of the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, were not disclosed.

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 U.S. 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.

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 A-Plan, one of the UK’s largest, specialist personal and commercial lines brokers.

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

He said the acquisition builds on the Howden’s center of excellence in London under the management of David Rees, which complements the Global Practice Group, run by Shay Simkin.

Chris Cotterell, CEO, Safeonline, will join Howden as chairman of its Cyber division.

“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,” said Cotterell.

Source: Howden Broking Group

*This story ran previously in our sister publication Insurance Journal.