Howden enters Danish market with acquisition of NORTH Risk


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London, 14 December 2023 – Howden announces its agreement to acquire Denmark’s fourth largest insurance intermediary NORTH Risk (“NORTH”), thereby establishing a retail presence in the Danish market and strengthening its geographical presence in the Nordic region of Europe. This acquisition reflects Howden’s continuing strategy to invest in local specialist expertise and bring the full force of its global capabilities, international network, and data and analytics for the benefit of clients in local markets.

NORTH was founded in 2021 by Danish private equity house Polaris through the acquisition and merger of four SME-focussed financial services distribution and advisory businesses into one platform. Today, the business is focused on servicing commercial SME clients and their employees with General Insurance, Life and Pensions and Financial Services (Mortgages and Financial Procurement) and is primed for growth with a high calibre team. 

As Polaris’ investment comes to an end, both the private equity firm and NORTH’s management team chose Howden as the best partner to support its onward growth trajectory. This decision stemmed from a strong cultural alignment, a shared entrepreneurial spirit, and a client-centric approach. Furthermore, NORTH’s management recognise the opportunities that will arise from leveraging Howden's network to create synergies and propel sustained growth.

The launch in Denmark marks the establishment of Howden’s twentieth territory in Continental Europe.  It also completes Howden’s presence in the Nordic region, having first opened an office in Finland over 20 years ago, followed by offices in Sweden, Norway and Iceland. Howden services a wide range of clients in the Nordics across all specialisms, from renewable energy, through to real estate and M&A.

Luigi Sturani, CEO, Howden Europe, says: “I am thrilled to welcome NORTH to the Howden family. This partnership stands as a testament to the power of our cultural affinity and the strong desire of the management to join our company. Together, we will continue to scale the business that will in time include reinsurance and other specialty lines, whilst accelerating the impressive growth in the business to date. This is our largest acquisition in Continental Europe after Italy’s Assiteca and shows not only the scale of our ambition, but also the compelling opportunity that Howden offers to the right companies with the right culture.”

NORTH is run by Lars Gundorph, who will head up Howden’s activities in Denmark. He was previously CEO of Willis Denmark. Gundorph comments: “We are proud to have partnered with Polaris over the last few years. Through dedicated efforts, our Board has assembled a team of independent and exceptionally skilled advisers, with ambitious plans for the future. Our experience representing Howden in Denmark has led us to recognise them as the most competent and progressive players on the international stage, with a genuine owner’s mindset. Howden is therefore the perfect match for NORTH, both in terms of business and culture. Their international outlook and commitment to clients make them an ideal partner to realise our full growth potential in Denmark.

Rune Lillie Gornitzka, partner, Polaris, concludes: "NORTH has rapidly evolved into a strong and unique advisory firm, thanks to the tireless efforts of everyone within the organisation. At Polaris, we have contributed by leveraging our industry insight and extensive experience in developing partnerships that create new opportunities and value for clients. We are pleased to have played a part in establishing a clear market leader, now well-positioned for further development with Howden."