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Insider Talk: Arthur J Gallagher to Buy Heath Lambert

Posted on 22 Feb 2011

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Broker Arthur J Gallagher International is set to close its acquisition of Heath Lambert next month and will immediately look to introduce an underwriting engine to channel the UK retailer's powerful book of business, according to sources.

Talk of a deal comes after Arthur J Gallagher raised $125m in a private placement earlier this month to fund acquisitions.

Gallagher International is the acquisitive UK arm of the US-based broker. Last year it bought Lloyd’s broker First City Partnership.

UK chief executive David Ross told Insurance Times in an interview last month that it did not expect to make another Lloyd’s acquisition.

“You are not going to see us acquire another broker in the Lloyd’s market in the next couple of years unless there is a fantastically compelling reason. "There are bigger wins for us that make more strategic sense outside of being a wholesaler,” he said. However he outlined the firm's plans to establish Gallagher International in the retail broking sector through the UK regions.

“Gallagher is a retail brand and the intention is to establish it in the [UK] regions. This is the second-biggest insurance market in the world; we have to be in it,” he said.

The UK division accounts for 15% of the group’s total turnover. It expects to post a profit of almost £35m in 2010.

Heath focuses predominantly on the UK retail broking sector. It has won a number of high-profile accounts, including the Crossrail contract.

In 2008, Gallagher bought Heath Lambert's global business solutions unit.

A Gallagher spokesman said: “We don’t comment on market speculation.” A spokesmen for Heath Lambert declined to comment.