Global insurance giant swoops for Henderson Group

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 30 Oct 2017

​US giant AON has swooped for Henderson Insurance Broking Group.

Terms have been agreed on an undisclosed deal between the company, founded in northern Lincolnshire by chief executive Joe Henderson, and the New York Stock Exchange-listed global professional services firm.

The buy-out is expected to complete in December. 

From humble beginnings Henderson has grown to employ more than 400 people across 16 offices, predominantly in the north of England, but with clients and business across the UK.

Last year it celebrated 30 years of trading, hitting £30 million of revenues. 

The main administrative centre is at Humberside Airport Business Park in Kirmington and Aon has confirmed that there are “no plans to make significant changes to the business”.

Mr Henderson, who was originally from Manchester, founded the business in 1986 in a small office in Scunthorpe, having realised there was a gap in the market while working in construction for Peter Birse at Barton.

Announcing the deal, he said: “Joining Aon provides a wealth of opportunities for both our colleagues and our clients. Our clients will benefit from new access to specialist and global expertise, and Aon’s commitment to continuing our excellent service levels. As for colleagues, I have no doubt that the talented people within our organisation will seize the opportunity to develop their careers within a firm of Aon’s stature.” 

For Aon, which raised its profile as official shirt sponsor of Manchester United, it supports ambitions to grow its UK retail business, specifically by increasing its footprint in the mid-market and specialist sectors.  

Henderson will become part of Aon Risk Solutions UK, which provides services to clients across an expansive range of industries and specialisms, covering a variety of needs.

Julie Page, chief executive of ARS UK, said: “I’m delighted that the Henderson Insurance Broking Group team is joining Aon, bringing more talented and experienced colleagues to our business. “Henderson Insurance Broking Group’s success and the esteem in which it is held, both by clients and the market, is a real indication of the passion it puts into finding the best solutions for its clients. Its underlying ethos of putting clients at the heart of its business aligns perfectly with Aon’s approach, and I’m looking forward to working with the leadership team at Henderson Insurance Broking Group to empower results for clients of both firms.” 

From Scunthorpe, Leeds was the next step, with Hull and Grimsby quickly added.

The three Humber offices were unified at Kirmington as growth continued nationwide, and that now serves as a key administration location for the network, established through organic growth and acquisition. An office was re-opened in Hull in 2004, as part of that growth.

Reflecting on last year’s milestone, Mr Henderson told of his pride at what had been achieved, and praised four other members of his original gang, Steve Preston, Jennifer Knights, Graham Kettlewell and Michael Wright, all four of whom remained involved in the business when the 30th anniversary was celebrated. 

He told how the record of dealing with large claims was “unmatched” and said that with a “great infrastructure in place with complementary specialist subsidiaries,” Henderson was in a position “that I believe puts us as the most successful and largest truly private organisation in the UK”.

An example given was when Storm Eva struck. Between December 6, 2015 and January 4, 2016, HIBL recorded more than £16 million of claims in 91 cases, with the Leeds head office opening through the festive period to handle it.

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