International broker Howden has bought cyber and technology specialist broker Safeonline, which is also a Lloyd’s coverholder.
For Howden, the purchase highlights the value that the broker sees in the “fast-growing” cyber product line, gives it an enhanced retail cyber platform and boosts its market presence in the US wholesale sector.
Safeonline, which is a member of the Brokerslink network, provides products such as cyber and technology, financial and professional lines, programmes and binders and contingency.
Safeonline also operates an insurtech platform, iQ, which features online quote and bind functionality that distributes to both the UK SME and international wholesale sectors.
This offers capacity for SME retail customers and represents a highly complementary distribution model for Howden, the broker said.
Following the acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approval, Safeonline’s technology capabilities will be rolled into HX, Howden’s data and analytics business. The firm’s team of cyber insurance specialists will join Howden’s cyber division.
Charlie Langdale, Howden’s managing director for financial lines, said the acquisition “supercharges our growth in this important market”.
He continued: “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.”
Howden has recently expanded 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.
Following the acquisition, Chris Cotterell – Safeonline’s chief executive – will join Howden as its chairman of the cyber division.
Speaking on the deal, Cotterell added: “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.”