Lickens reveals “race against time” in John Ansell deal

The Clear Group CEO says the business was on the clock when it bought John Ansell following ECI investment.

howard lickens

Clear Group’s first deal since it received investment from ECI Partners last month was to buy broker John Ansell & Partners.

Howard Lickens, Clear Group CEO, told Insurance Age that it was a “race against time” to finish the deal because the lease on the Enfield-based John Ansell office was ending and all nine staff were transferring to Clear’s London branch.

“Moving them was one of the deadline issues,” he explained, “Their lease was up. We’ve moved them in already.”

GWP growth
The deal adds around £5m in GWP to Clear Group’s numbers. In the 2017 Top 100 Independent Broker supplement Clear was in the £75m to £99.99m banding but now deals with over £100m of GWP.

Lickens commented: “The size of John Ansell is pretty much our sweet spot. We want to do deals [for businesses] with about £1m in revenue.”

According to Lickens the move to buy John Ansell gives Clear Group expertise in a number of new areas.

“They have got some schemes that we do not have such as activity holidays and things around gyms and fitness and trainers.”

Looking ahead Lickens said there were “a number of possibles” in terms of future deals for Clear. Previously he told Insurance Age that Clear is positioning itself as a “disciplined consolidator” with the aim on one or two acquisitions a year.

Clear was founded in 2001 and has since then completed 23 acquisitions, including MPW Insurance Brokers in 2017 and Genavco Insurance and Robert Alexander in 2018.

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