A J Gallagher will become the fourth-largest broker in Germany by premiums handled after it completes the acquisition of various European and international businesses from Willis Towers Watson (WTW), which needs to happen to pave the way for Aon’s planned acquisition of WTW.
In Germany, Gallagher is buying WTW’s corporate risk and broking book, excluding affinity business, and the health and benefits business. It will also acquire the corporate risk and broking services for P&C and financial relating to multinational companies headquartered in Germany.
A company spokesperson confirmed to Commercial Risk that the WTW German business to be acquired will bring about 450 employees in Germany currently based in Cologne, Munich and Reutlingen. Specialties that will be added to the Gallagher offering in Germany include real estate, marine hull, renewables, M&A, engineering, financial lines, and food and beverage.
The acquisition of the WTW business in Germany along with similar portfolios in France, Spain and the Netherlands, bringing a combined total of some 6,000 new staff, gives US-based Gallagher a footprint on the ground in the major western European economies for the first time.
The broker currently has 110 offices across Europe but is largely concentrated in the UK, the Nordic region, and central and eastern Europe. The UK dominates the current Gallagher European portfolio, with 4,600 colleagues across 70 offices for brokerage-only operations. If Gallagher Bassett and Gallagher Benefit Services are included, the total staff number rises to 5,200.
The group has another 1,000 staff across Europe working for subsidiaries in Norway, Switzerland and Sweden. Its minority shareholding in Czechia-based Renomia gives it operations in Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia and Croatia, as well as Czechia itself.
Gallagher’s business in western Europe has, until now, been generated through its partners in the Gallagher Global Alliance network. The partner in Germany is Hamburg-based Funk, the largest independent family-run insurance broker and risk consultant in Germany, which was originally formed back in 1879 in Berlin.
Funk has 15 branches in Germany, a total of 35 locations worldwide and is represented in more than 100 countries also through its own Funk Alliance network, the world’s largest international network managed centrally from Germany. Funk is also a member of the Lockton Global international network.
It is currently not clear how Gallagher’s planned acquisition of the WTW business in Germany and across Europe will impact its relationship with Funk as it becomes a local competitor on its ‘home turf’.