Howden boosts cyber offering through Safeline acquisition

Howden has reached an agreement to acquire Safeonline, a cyber and tech specialist broker and Lloyd’s coverholder, in a bid to expand its cyber offering. 

The acquisition “underlines the importance” the insurer places on cyber offerings, and gives the business an “enhanced” retail cyber platform as well as boosting its presence in the US wholesale sector. 

The transaction will see a team of cyber insurance specialists join Howden’s cyber division, adding “resources and expertise” to its presence in the cyber market. The acquisition remains subject to regulatory approval.

Safeonline currently has a proprietary insurtech platform, iQ, which comprises online quote and bind functionality that distributes to both the UK SME and international wholesale sectors. 

This online portal provides capacity for SME retail customers and represents a “highly complementary” distribution model for Howden.

The platform also complements Howden’s existing wholesale cyber client base and offers the capability to provide “on the ground” cyber quote and bind capability throughout the Howden office network globally.

Safeonline offers a range of product lines including cyber and tech, financial and professional lines, programmes and binders and contingency. Its tech capability will be rolled into HX, the group’s data and analytics business.

Charlie Langdale, managing director, financial lines, said: “Cyber as a class has been growing strongly for us over recent years and this acquisition supercharges our growth in this important market. 

“In a stroke, it gives us the ability to service retail SME clients and enlarge our US wholesale cyber book. It also means we can improve our service to large global retail accounts and grow further our Financial Lines retail capability.”

He added: “This enhanced offering builds on our centre of excellence in London under the management of David Rees that complements our Global Practice Group, run by Shay Simkin, and will help us deliver even more for our clients.”

Safeline CEO Chris Cotterell, who will join Howden as chairman of its cyber division, said: “Having pioneered cyber insurance since 1999, I am delighted that the Safeonline team will be able to continue its growth and innovation in this sector. Becoming a part of Howden gives us the scale, resources and an international platform to allow us to take the business to the next level. 

“We look forward to working with the Howden team to educate, protect and create solutions critical to businesses and individuals operating in this digital world.”

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