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Verlingue target 8% growth and further acquisitions

By Laurence Mcclenaghan
27 June 2022

Family-owned insurance business Verlingue is seeking new acquisitions in order to meet an ambitious "organic growth target" of 8%.

The UK arm of the France-based Verlingue group was formed in 2019 following the merger of Finch Insurance Brokers and ICB Group.

Verlingue had backed Finch since 2007 and added ICB Group to its business in 2018, but didn't merge the firms immediately.

Mike Latham, CEO Verlingue UK, said the businesses had used the time during the pandemic to complete the integration process: “We’ve created a business that is more than one plus one equals two.”

Management had used the time during the pandemic to enable interaction across offices. Mike said: “We realise now that it is more efficient when doing business to mix-up the face-to-face and virtual approach. There was a lot of collaboration between offices during Covid and, while the pandemic did set back the growth plan, it enabled the business to set itself up well for future development.

"Verlingue is still a family run business and I pointed out that consolidator disruption was pushing clients and talent to independent businesses such as Verlingue.

“It especially impacts the ones that have been consolidated two or three times. People become battle-weary.”

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Verlingue has branches in Manchester, Egham, Redhill and London City, has around £165m in GWP, with its employee benefits operation accounting for about 15%. Staff numbers have also swelled to 165, up from around 150 when the rebrand to Verlingue UK took place.

Mr. Latham continued: “We restructured a little to focus all areas on growth and our vision is around organic growth. We’d also like to do a deal or two. But it has to be the right broker, the right team and the right location.

“We know the brokers we are interested in and are speaking to them but many aren’t interesting in selling at the moment. But there will be opportunities in the future.”

Regional area targets include the Midlands and also the South West/Bristol area.
In the meantime, the plan for organic growth is “going well”.

Latham stated: "The aim by 2024 is to have £22m organic total income, or, if an acquisition comes off, £35m total income. The organic growth target is an ambitious 8%."

Latham added: “Verlingue UK is ambitious but sensible.

“It’s definitely an opportunity if brokers want to get the necessary skills. We always talk about risk and need people to consider the risk of attracting and retaining talent.”

Going forward, Verlingue is set to focus on its key specialisms which include hospitality, technology, financial technology and multinational business. And it is also working on embedding newer sectors such as food and drink and media.

The specialisms, he noted, “are usually derived from what we are good at – you tend to enjoy the things you are good at and be good at the things you enjoy”.

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