US-based insurance broker NFP embarks on growth plan for Ireland

The US-based investment broker is embarking on a growth plan for Ireland

David Moore, director of private client services at NFP Picture: Peter Houlihan

While uncertainty looms large for the economy on both Brexit and Covid-19, it can be a challenge to find some good news in the business community. But one such company, NFP, presents just that, with an ambitious expansion plan for Ireland.

The US-based insurance broker and consultant, recently acquired Dublin firm HMP Insurance & Pensions Advisors, a company established in 2006 that has cultivated a reputation for excellence in corporate pensions consultancy, private wealth management, mortgage and insurance advice. Now successfully rebranded to NFP, the original founders are now at the helm of NFP’s new Ireland office accessing a portfolio of expertise and resources across employee benefits, property and casualty (P&C), retirement and individual financial solutions.

David Moore, director of private client services at NFP, who co-founded HMP with Colm Power, said they were approached 18 months prior to the acquisition with an opportunity to sell their firm.

“At the time we were experiencing significant growth and weren’t actively looking to sell but we had several working relationships with a number of UK brokers, one of whom had been purchased by NFP,” he said. “They asked us if we would be interested in a proposition. The reason behind the approach was that NFP and HMP were already very much aligned with a shared business ethos and we were both very much advice and service driven. NFP had looked at the Irish market having purchased several companies in the UK pre-Brexit and HMP were the ideal fit. When Brexit became real, they started to look to Ireland to have a foothold in the EU market and because HMP already had a working relationship with the UK brokerage acquired by NFP, they reached out to us to see if we would be interested. We held discussions with other international brokers but we felt the NFP offering was unique. Their support structures, experience and focus on growth made our decision quite easy in the end.”

NFP is a leading insurance broker and consultant that serves clients through more than 260 offices across the US and 45 international offices across the UK, Puerto Rico, and Canada. With the addition of HMP, NFP establishes its first presence in Ireland with plans to double its Irish workforce. There are some 5,700 employees in NFP across the world, including Ireland. NFP is the fifth largest benefits broker by global revenue, 10th largest property and casualty agency, and 12th largest global insurance broker.

“NFP’s core areas of business are employee benefits, private client services, such as mortgage advice, pension and investment advice, and personal protection, and finally property & casualty insurance, as it’s known in the States, or as we call it, general insurance” said Moore. “Our initial task now is to acquire a general insurance broker to fill the gap that NFP requires. Colm and I remain directors of the business and we report directly into Matt Pawley, managing director for NFP’s UK and Ireland business.”

In announcing the Irish deal, Pawley said the move was a strategic one where an Irish base would help NFP deal with the impact of Brexit on its UK businesses and clients.

“Welcoming HMP is an important development for NFP’s international business and complements our continued investment in the UK,” he said. “We also believe that investing in Ireland is strategically important as we continue to plan for the impact of Brexit on clients and our ability to serve them. David, Colm and the entire HMP team give us a strong presence in Ireland, expertise in key businesses, and a tremendous foundation for growth. I’m excited about their contributions as we further refine our benefits and pension capabilities and advance our ability to serve the dynamic needs of our clients.”

He added that Ireland has the potential to serve as NFP’s European hub: “Ireland is well placed to become a European hub for our business as we continue to expand our presence into new geographic territories, but the local market also provides great domestic business opportunities and potential with many US and global corporate HQs based here.”

Moore said the plan is now to grow the business organically by hiring staff and identifying potential acquisitions.

“The beauty of this acquisition is that everything still feels the same,” said Moore. “We’re still making the day to day decisions on the ground and report to the UK each month, but we are running and growing the business in a way that allows us to deliver meaningful value to our clients.”

Colm Power, director of employee benefits, agreed: “Our priority is to be a key contributor to NFP’s growth strategy by building a greater presence and market share in Ireland and advance their very successful US and international expansion model of targeted acquisitions. To that end, we will be proactively identifying further suitable acquisition targets in Ireland, particularly in corporate commercial insurance, that will complement our business. Our plans are to acquire the right business at the right time. There are really great businesses out there that have significant opportunities for growth, but it must represent value and more importantly it must be the right fit culturally.”

For further information, please contact NFP Ireland at Tel: 01 2100210