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“One acquisition a month is a great pace,” says Bluefin CEO

“One acquisition a month is a great pace,” says Bluefin CEO

“One acquisition a month is a great pace,” says Bluefin CEO
You might think with four acquisitions under its belt since January, that national brokerage Bluefin is in need of a pause to catch its breath. But Rob Organ, CEO of Bluefin Insurance Group, told Insurance Business the company has only just started to get up to speed.

With eight purchases in total since mid-2015, which was when Organ took the reins, it’s clear that acquisitions are a key part of Bluefin’s growth strategy.

“I think one acquisition a month is a great pace to run at,” said Organ, “and we plan to continue being very active. We’re ambitious and acquisition is part of our growth plan through 2020.”

The Bluefin chief says he is currently engaged in conversations with ‘20 or so brokers’ regarding an acquisition, ‘a good six of which are at advanced stages of the process’.

Organ says it’s important to Bluefin to maintain a healthy pipeline of businesses to be engaged with.  “But,” he added, “it’s also important for control to be in the [would-be] seller’s hands. They might be interested, but now might not be the right time.”

So far this year Bluefin has acquired Alverton Insurance Brokers in Stockton, Wilbourn Insurance Services and Grampian Insurance in Angus, and Exchange Insurance Services, a commercial broker based in Liverpool.

But what does Bluefin look for in potential suitors and how does it find them? According to Organ, the company is approached by a significant number of brokerages, many of which are start-ups. But Organ also has a rich network of contacts through which he learns of interested parties.

“What we look for doesn’t fit into rigid boxes,” he said. “We look for predominantly commercial brokers, and brokers specifically rather than employee benefit advisors. We’re strong in PI and professions. Then the people are important, they need to be a good cultural fit and of course have the clients’ best interests at heart. They also need to be prepared to integrate and rebrand and adopt a common system.”

Bluefin is standardised on Acturis, and while it would happily buy three complementary businesses in the same area, it would aggregate them into one office, so there must be a willingness to ‘join the family’.  

So where will Bluefin look to next? The most recent acquisition of Exchange in Liverpool was no accident. Organ said that Bluefin just didn’t have a foothold in the north west so the acquisition made perfect sense, and perhaps there’s still room for more.