Online Insurer DirectAsia.Com, Acquired by Global Specialist Hiscox
Release date: 3 March 2014
- Acquired for USD55 million plus earn out over four years
- Complements Hiscox’s existing direct to consumer retail offering
- Significant plans to invest in building the business
Hamilton, Bermuda (Monday 3rd March 2014) – Hiscox, the global specialist insurance group, is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement with Whittington Group, the Singapore-headquartered insurance services and investment business, to acquire its direct-to-consumer online operation DirectAsia.com, subject to regulatory approval.
DirectAsia.com was founded in Singapore in 2010 and launched into Thailand in 2013. Its primary business is motor, one of the few non-discretionary insurances in Asia, with ancillary lines in travel, personal accident, healthcare and life. DirectAsia.com has a strong business model, operates in markets where agent based channels with high distribution costs predominate, and uses market leading rating mechanisms. It has over 54,000 customers, employs 140 people across the three locations in which it operates and in 2013 had gross written premiums of USD25.3 million.
Bronek Masojada, Hiscox CEO, commented:
"DirectAsia.com is a challenger brand with real potential. It gives Hiscox a 21st century distribution platform in Asia that leapfrogs traditional routes to market. DirectAsia.com complements our direct-to-consumer businesses in Europe and the US, and in time, we will use it to distribute Hiscox products."
Anthony Hobrow, CEO Whittington Group, said:
"We have developed a successful entrepreneurial business, taking on the global giants with traditional distribution models. We are very pleased that we have been able to pass this unique platform to Hiscox who can supply expertise, capital and a strong customer focussed culture to help us further develop and grow the business."
The business will continue to operate under the DirectAsia.com brand and with the existing local management team, which will be led by Steve Langan – Hiscox UK and Europe MD and now CEO of DirectAsia.com Group.
Hiscox, headquartered in Bermuda, is an international specialist insurance group listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange. DirectAsia.com will be Hiscox’s first business in Asia, and builds on its other direct-to-consumer operations in Europe and the US. DirectAsia.com is built on the same efficient and scalable IT platform that Hiscox UK is migrating to. It supports the insurer’s existing strategy to grow the retail lines of business and balance the more catastrophe exposed, internationally traded lines, where it expands and contracts according to market conditions.
The acquisition has been approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and is subject to regulatory approval from the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) in Hong Kong. Other interested parties including the Bermuda Monetary Authority, the Prudential Regulatory Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, the Office of Insurance Commission (OIC) in Thailand, and Lloyd’s of London have also been notified of the transaction.
Notes to Editors
Hiscox, headquartered in Bermuda, is an international specialist insurance group listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:HSX). There are three main underwriting parts of the Group – Hiscox London Market, Hiscox UK and Europe and Hiscox International. Hiscox London Market underwrites mainly internationally traded business in the London Market – generally large or complex business which needs to be shared with other insurers or needs the international licences of Lloyd’s. Hiscox UK and Europe offers a range of specialist insurance for professionals and business customers, as well as high net worth individuals. Hiscox International includes operations in Bermuda, Guernsey and the USA.
About Whittington Group and DirectAsia.com
Established in 1993, Whittington Group is as an international insurance services and investment business. It established a pioneering flagship enterprise, DirectAsia.com.
DirectAsia.com is the brainchild of CEO Simon Birch. It is a direct to consumer, online insurance company with a presence in Singapore and Thailand. It was established in 2010 in Singapore before expanding into Thailand in 2013. It currently has over 57,000 customers and employs around 177 people across the locations in which it currently operates. It benefits from the reinsurance support of Munich Re.