JLT expands reinsurance arm with $250m swoop

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Employee benefits adviser Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT), which counts burger chain McDonald’s and supermarket chain Morrisons among its clients, is buying the world’s fourth-largest reinsurance broker, Towers Watson, for $250 million (£156m).

The acquisition of the brokerage, from New York-listed Towers Watson, was hailed by analysts as an “excellent deal” and the combined business – to be branded initially as JLT Towers Re – will have 700 staff across 35 offices in 17 countries.

JLT chief executive Dominic Burke said: “Towers Watson offers us a very strong reinsurance platform in the key North American market, as well as bringing further strength in the London market.”

Towers Watson’s reinsurance arm, which employs around 430 across six countries, made a pre-tax profit of $26m in the year to June, on revenues of $166m.

Shore Capital analyst Eamonn Flanagan said: “We view this as an excellent deal for JLT – a signal of its ambition and statement of intent in the reinsurance broking world.”

JLT employs more than 8,500 people across its insurance broking and employee benefit operations in 35 territories, and its UK presence includes an office in Edinburgh. Last year it won a deal to run Aegon UK’s final salary pension operations.