HW Kaufman EVP on "quite aggressive" expansion plans

Kaufman Davis on Middle East growth and global ambitions

HW Kaufman EVP on "quite aggressive" expansion plans

Insurance News

By Jen Frost

HW Kaufman Group is set to plant its company flag in the Middle East with Burns & Wilcox’s acquisition of Dubai-headquartered CARE Insurance Brokers, and the business is by no means done building out its global presence, according to its executive vice president.

“We definitely want to at least double in size,” HW Kaufman EVP Jodie Kaufman Davis told Insurance Business in an interview on the group’s Middle East expansion and broader ambitions.

HW Kaufman’s strategic investment in CARE Insurance Brokers, announced last week, will see the Dubai-based business rebranded as Burns & Wilcox UAE upon regulatory approval.

The acquired broker is involved with a range of products, from auto and general insurance to marine, engineering and medical. It is set to continue working within its current areas, with Burns & Wilcox also looking to build out its offering in other areas that the group has global expertise, according to Kaufman Davis, who pointed to benefits for the group’s London operations.

HW Kaufman’s London brokers set to benefit from UAE deal

“It ties in really well with our hub and spoke London model,” Kaufman Davis said. “We’re really able to bring business to London, as well as place business domestically, so it really benefits our whole platform.”

HW Kaufman London brokers Chesterfield and marine specialist Lochain Patrick will look to capitalise on the expansion, with opportunities to grow across marine, construction and amid the economic and population growth boom that Dubai has experienced in recent years.

The group’s ambitions are unlikely to stop at the CARE acquisition, with HW Kaufman set to pursue “quite aggressive” expansion in the Middle East having had the region on its radar for some time, Kaufman Davis shared.

“With the global footprint of the group and with the expertise we already have around the world, we think that there’s an attractive value proposition both from a client and talent position,” she said.

Kaufman family bank on private ownership to attract targets, talent

The group hopes its private, family-owned model will give it a boost with talent that could be put off by “corporate red tape” that might exist in competitor public enterprises.

Kaufman Davis’ father, Alan Kaufman, serves as HW Kaufman chairman, president & CEO. Her brother, Daniel Kaufman, is Burns & Wilcox president and HW Kaufman EVP.

“We’ve found, as we’ve continued to pound the pavement around the world, that the private family-owned business infrastructure that we have is really a strong value proposition,” Kaufman Davis said. “There has been a lot of consolidation in the industry, and the fact that we’ve been a strong family-owned and operated organisation for almost 55 years gives a lot of comfort to our current team, as well as additional potential team members that we’re in it, and we want to remain in it.”

Kaufman Davis further hailed the private model as having offered the freedom to invest in technology, talent and global infrastructure as its executives “see fit”.

“We have very significant growth plans, I would say, over the next five years and beyond, and our ability to make investments and to make decisions where there’s opportunity is going to be critical to our success in that regard,” Kaufman Davis said.

HW Kaufman “bullish” on expansion

Outside of the UAE and Middle East, HW Kaufman group remains “bullish” on expansion within and outside of its existing markets.

“That still includes growing in North America, but we’re actively entertaining opportunities around the world and look forward to our continued success,” Kaufman Davis, who is also president of Burns & Wilcox Canada, said.

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