DUAL to Acquire Align Financial Holdings

August 13, 2021

London-based DUAL, the underwriting arm of Howden Group Holdings, has agreed to acquire Align Financial Holdings, a specialist general agency and underwriting management group in California.

San Diego-based Align underwrites more than $630 million gross written premium on an annualized basis through its commercial casualty, commercial property catastrophe, personal property, and surety businesses. Align operates four agency businesses: Align General Insurance Agency, Catalytic Risk Managers & Insurance Agency, Deposit Choice, and NALICO General Agency.

DUALm which writes gross written premiums of $1.1 billion, said the acquisition creates an international managing general agency group with more gross written premium, 1,000 employees in 16 countries, more than 80 capacity providers, and 7,000 broker partners.

Kieran Sweeney, founder and CEO of Align, will lead the combined U.S. businesses, supported by Jim O’Connor, CEO of DUAL North America, and John Johnson, president of Align. Sweeney will also become executive chairman of DUAL Group globally and a member of the Howden Group Executive Committee. Current DUAL Group Non-Executive Chairman, David Ibeson will become a non-executive director.

“The complementary product and program mix, the broadened distribution, cross-sell opportunities, deepened pool of capacity providers, and expanded broker partnerships, present a very special opportunity not only in the U.S., where the business will be one of the largest general agencies in the biggest marketplace in the world, but globally,” commented Richard Clapham, CEO of DUAL Group.

The acquisition remains subject to completion and regulatory approval.

Evercore Group LLC served as financial advisor, and Dentons Durham Jones Pinegar P.C. served as legal counsel to Align. Howden Group was supported by Weil, Gotshal and Manges LLP, Locke Lord LLP, and EY.