Intermediary consolidation continues as ADVO buys Health Care Plus

ADVO boss Bulmer hints at further acquisitions too

Evidence of further consolidation in the specialist private medical insurance (PMI) intermediary sector emerged today, after ADVO Group announced the acquisition of Oxfordshire-based Health Care Plus (HCP) for an undisclosed sum.

Health Care Plus, which was established in 1994, will retain the Abingdon office, adding to ADVO’s presence in London and Maidstone.

It was owned by Sue Smith, a high profile figure in the specialist health insurance intermediary industry, who recently joined the executive committee of the Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries (AMII).

Smith, who is going to remain with Health Care Plus following the acquisition, said she was “delighted” that the oprganisation has become part of the ADVO Group, a company which she said is “tremendously well respected by both intermediaries and insurers”.

ADVO CEO Larry Bulmer (pictured) said the deal marked a “tremendous transaction both for ADVO and for Sue”.

Bulmer said ADVO remained committed to expanding through acquisition as well as organic growth and the organisation is on the lookout for partners of “similar outlook and values”.

He said: “We are always open to discussion with intermediaries, and our flexible approach allows us to structure exit strategies either in stages or via a single transaction.”

Bulmer added that organic growth at ADVO, which was established in 1997, was 11% in the last 12 months.

The deal follows the 2008 merger of ADVO Group with London-based advisers excellenthealth and acquisition of Health Plan, the specialist intermediary previously owned by Michael Payne, himself now general secretary of AMII.

Recent years have seen much consolidation in the specialist PMI intermediary market, led by organisations including ADVO and Chase Templeton.

Earlier this month Chase Templeton announced that it had acquired the individual client banks of two members of its network of appointed representatives (ARs). The acquisition of the individual book of Best Health’s business followed a similar deal undertaken with The Healthcare Specialists, which completed earlier this year.

Both ARs will now concentrate fully on growing their group PMI books, Chase Templeton said, stressing that it has acquired only the individual books of the two ARs and not the businesses themselves.

Other Chase Templeton acquisitions in recent years include Farnborough-based Benefits for Business, Cheshire's Jigsaw Healthcare and Oxford and Gloucester-based Healthcare Quotations.

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