Howden establishes presence in Luxembourg and strengthens position in Belgium with two acquisitions


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London, 24th October 2023 - Howden, the global insurance group, announces today that it has established a retail presence in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg with the acquisition of the portfolio of United Brokers S.A. (“United”), and has strengthened its position in Belgium with the acquisition of WDR Insurance Group BV (“WDR”). This reflects Howden’s strategy to invest in expertise and partner with culturally aligned firms to expand its geographical footprint into local markets for the benefit of its clients.

Through the acquisition of a portfolio of business from Luxembourg-based Financial Lines specialist United, Howden Belgium enters a new and important market in Europe. This is the beginning of an exciting growth journey, which includes the establishment of a branch in Luxembourg City. Partnering with Jacques Emsix, the branch representative and former owner of the portfolio, Howden will develop a retail business in the country.

WDR specialises in Property and Casualty as well as Employee Benefits product lines servicing corporates, public sector and SME clients. With offices in Drogenbos, Aalst, and Antwerp, this acquisition allows Howden to expand its footprint in the broader Brussels area, complementing existing offices in Zaventem and Uccle. It also facilitates the growth of Howden's business in the Antwerp region, including the Port of Antwerp, where the company already serves several clients.

These acquisitions align with Howden's growth strategy in Europe, strengthening local expertise and establishing and building footholds in new markets. They mark a significant milestone for Howden Belgium, which obtained its broking license to operate in the country in June 2020. With a total headcount now exceeding 60, revenues surpassing €10 million, and Gross Written Premiums (GWP) exceeding €100 million, these acquisitions underscore the significant expansion and impact of Howden in the region.

Herman Kerremans, CEO, Howden Belgium, commented: “These two acquisitions reinforce our commitment to Belgium and the wider region, and reflect our strategy to invest in talent and to deepen our expertise for the benefit of our clients. With strong strategic and cultural alignment, WDR and United are the ideal partners for Howden as we cement our position as the natural home for independent insurance brokers looking to give clients access to the expertise and specialisms of an international network within their local market.”

Marie-Anne Van Kerckhoven, Arnaut Ingels and Walter Huybrechts, Managing Directors, WDR Insurance Group, said: “Even though WDR is already a well-known broker in our selected markets, we've been on the lookout for a partner with international reach for years. Howden is the perfect fit for our expanding business - sufficiently large to offer advanced solutions in a complex global market yet still wholly dedicated to delivering the very best service for our clients. Joining Howden feels like finding a permanent home and we are excited to be part of a business that values people and independence. Our well-established, trusted team remains committed to delivering the professional service and support our clients have come to expect."

Jacques Emsix, Former Portfolio Owner, United Brokers Luxembourg, added: "Over the past two decades, we've established a robust business portfolio in Luxembourg, and joining forces with Howden is the perfect opportunity to further grow our presence in the market. Our alignment with their entrepreneurial spirit and client-centric approach is a key factor, and we're eager to leverage Howden’s extensive network to enhance our ability to meet our clients' needs more effectively."