Edinburgh insurance broker Bruce Stevenson eyes acquisitions as revenues rise

Insurance broker Bruce Stevenson is “actively speaking” to a number of peers about potential acquisitions after booking stronger full-year numbers.

The Edinburgh-headquartered firm, which has offices in Glasgow, the Borders and Turriff, also revealed that it is in talks to take on senior level recruits and hopes for more in the coming year, adding to an existing headcount of 110.

Chief executive Edward Bruce said: “Our new ownership gives us more firepower to drive growth by acquisition over the next 12 months and beyond.

“Critically, our client-focused and staff-development culture remains unchanged. The continued growth of the business has enabled us to make some exciting promotions from within the business with more anticipated in the coming months.”

Edward Bruce, CEO, Edinburgh-headquartered insurance brokerage Bruce Stevenson. Picture: Stewart Attwood

The firm, which provides insurance broking and risk management services, was acquired by UK and Ireland insurance group Aston Lark in March 2021 and has since operated as an independent brand and separate legal entity.

Bruce Stevenson reported revenue and gross written premium (GWP) increases of 7 per cent, with trading income up by £600,000 to £8.7 million, and GWP at £44m.

Bruce added: “We are pleased to report strong organic growth, in what was a challenging year with difficult trading conditions for the business and the industry overall.”

Renewable energy and social housing represent the firm’s two largest sectors, while Scotland’s food and drink industry is a high growth market in which whisky distilleries have represented one of the business’s fastest-growing sub-sectors, alongside self-catering accommodation.

Commercial work, property, private client, art and farming and estates also remain key sectors for the firm.

Last month, Aston Lark’s Glasgow office merged with Bruce Stevenson’s Glasgow team - with a dozen staff moving over to the latter. The Aston Lark Glasgow office recorded approximately £5m of GWP and £1m of income in 2021.

On the occasion of its last bolt-on deal, in 2018, Bruce Stevenson strengthened its offering in Aberdeen and the North-east with the acquisition of Turriff-based Youngson Insurance Consultants.

Peter Blanc, Aston Lark group chief executive, said: “I’m delighted to see the progress that Bruce Stevenson has made despite challenging market conditions and we are excited by the further growth opportunities that they have, both organically in their specialisms but also as they seek to acquire like minded-brokers in the Scottish market.”

He added: “Edward Bruce and his team will build a broker that is the standout leader in Scotland and we’ll do everything we can to support them every step of the way.”

Bruce Stevenson was founded in 1981 by its current chief executive’s father, David Bruce.

Aston Lark has 55 offices and some 1,800 employees across the UK and Ireland, serving in excess of 200,000 customers, and placed more than £1 billion in premiums in 2021 in the UK insurance market.

Like Bruce Stevenson, the firm is in a select group of insurance brokers with the Chartered Insurance Broker status.

Bruce Stevenson announced in October 2018 that it had acquired Youngson Insurance Consultants after the former closed out its most recent five-year growth plan.

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