Independent insurance broker the Clear Group has secured investment from UK-based private equity firm ECI Partners.

Howard Lickens_Clear

Image: Clear Group CEO Howard Lickens. Photo: Courtesy of Clear Insurance Management Ltd.

The investment is subject to approval from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority.

Established in 2001, Clear Group has expanded by a combination of organic growth and 23 acquisitions.

Today, the company has more than 30,000 clients and handles over £100m in premiums.

It has mainly focused on creating sustainable value and it claims to have differentiated itself as an acquirer by adopting a consultative approach to change and engages all its key stakeholders including management, employees and insurers in the process.

The company is led by co-founders Howard Lickens and Gary O’Donnell, who are the CEO and deputy CEO respectively.

It employs more than 200 people and has five offices in London (HQ), Maidstone, Cranleigh, Leamington Spa and Spalding.

Clear Group CEO Howard Lickens said: “We have made no secret that we needed more money to support our acquisition plans for the next stage of our growth and have spent the last 6 months or more working towards securing the right finance.

“This deal signals confidence both in our business and in the long-term direction of the market sector in which we operate. It’s a real endorsement that ECI has seen the value in our company and are keen to back us as we put the next phase of our strategy into action.”

Clear Group has been seeking a partner to support its growth. The investment from ECI will help the company in retaining its independence, culture and values, while providing additional funds to continue with its acquisition-led strategy in a market that has more than 2,000 independent brokers.

After this funding, Clear Group will be led by Howard and Gary in conjunction with the current Chairman Paul Druckman. It will also remain as a key member of the Brokerbility Group.

ECI Partners partner Paul McCreadie said: “Clear operates in a very large and stable market and is a business with a strong reputation. It has deep knowledge of product specialisms and has long-standing relationships with insurers and customers.

“Clear has a successful track record pursuing sustainable acquisitions which have been well integrated into the core business and we want to continue this strategy. We are really pleased to partner with Howard, Gary and their team as they advance to the next stage of growth.”