Gallagher says goodbye to Stackhouse Poland brand

Michael Rea

Michael Rea reveals how the HNW specialist has fitted into the business as deal takes Gallagher’s UK retail GWP to $2.5bn.

The integration of Stackhouse Poland, bought by Gallagher in January 2019 for £265.5m, is almost complete, according to Michael Rea, UK retail CEO at Gallagher.

Insurance Age can reveal that around half of the 23 Stackhouse Poland branches across the UK already carry the Gallagher branding with the remainder set to follow suit by the end of this month.

Rea said that the first week in November was important because it saw the rebrand of the HNW specialist as 90-95% complete.

Speaking exclusively to Insurance Age, Rea said that some regulatory matters were yet to be concluded.

However, in terms of new policies and renewals, everything is now coming through on the Gallagher brand and all Stackhouse Poland operations, apart from some specialist brands such as Coleman Marine, are now in run-off. The run-off is set to complete in the next 12-18 months.

Of the rebranded branches, Rea commented: “Most of them have been left exactly as they are.”

Where there has been overlap, Rea added: “We have taken the opportunity to bring these teams under one roof. The process is largely complete.”

When the deal went through, there were 480 Stackhouse Poland staff. Rea said there has “not really” been much attrition or redundancy.

“Stackhouse had 480 when we bought the business and we are still in the 450-480 [staff number] bracket and not suffered any attrition.

“We have not lost anyone we didn’t want to keep,” he noted.

Court case
Rea remarked that staff joining Gallagher had not asked about the highly publicised staff poaching court case between the Gallagher and Ardonagh’s Lloyd’s businesses, which was going on at the same time as the integration.

The court documents raised a number of questions about the culture at Gallagher after CEO Simon Matson was revealed to have called former employee Nawaf Hasan a “fat complicated Arab”. Last month, a judge dismissed the staff poaching claims.

Asked about plans for Tim Johnson, Stackhouse managing director, Rea said that he was staying on to oversee the integration of the business for the foreseeable future, remaining part of Gallagher until at least 2020.

Johnson is also looking at further M&A opportunities for Gallagher.

When the deal was originally announced, Johnson suggested that the Stackouse branding would be kept for the foreseeable future

Rea said: “The staff were not really concerned and we have moved on now.”

The integration between the two businesses has been fairly painless because, Rea revealed, both brokers already used the Acturis system.

The two business also have a similar culture which meant “they melded incredibly well”, according to Rea.

“It was a good cultural fit.”

Rea also admitted that Gallagher thought long and hard about whether to keep the highly respected Stackhouse name.

“Part of the conversation was around the value in retaining the brand. We decided it was more about retaining the people,” he explained.

Going forward, Gallagher is “building a pipeline of M&A opportunities”.

Recent months and deals have seen Gallagher add 1,000 staff to the business.

“We want to inspire people to do a great job,” said Rea

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