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Towergate acquires Paymentshield

Towergate, Europe's largest independently-owned insurance intermediary, has acquired UK-based mortgage-related general insurance firm Paymentshield for an undisclosed sum.

Paymentshield has an annual gross written premium in excess of GBP200 million and recorded profits of GBP14.5 million in 2005/2006. Within the last three years, it has tripled the number of mortgage general insurance policies sold, and has established itself as the UK intermediary sector’s market leader for buildings & contents and mortgage payment protection insurance (MPPI) business.

Paymentshield has ambitious growth plans for its business, which the insurer believes will be supported by the scale, skills, strong underwriting relationships and access to capital that Towergate can provide.

As part of its commitment to supply highly competitive products, Paymentshield has also reviewed its underwriting contracts. It has appointed Royal & SunAlliance to become its buildings and contents insurance underwriter, while Norwich Union will underwrite MPPI products. DAS will become responsible for underwriting home emergency and legal cover.

Paymentshield’s management team, led by chief executive Stuart Pender, is to stay on following the acquisition. Its head office will remain in Southport, with the 300 staff moving to new, purpose-built offices in the town during the course of Q1 2007. In addition, Paymentshield also intends to open a new office in the Edinburgh area.

The deal also represents a successful exit for Bank of Scotland Corporate, which backed the original buy-in in 2004 as the single largest investor.