Telematics insurer Insure The Box Ltd has sold a majority shareholding to a top Japanese insurer, in a deal worth £105m.
The UK firm, which employs around 350 people at its Newcastle service centre, sold a 75% stake to Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Europe (ANDIE), the European subsidiary Asian insurance giants MS&AD.
Insure The Box management will retain a 25% stake in the firm’s holding company, Box Innovation Group Ltd (BIG).
Founder and group chief executive Mike Brockman described the move, which follows 18 months of negotiations, as “fantastic news” for prospects at the Newcastle operation.
ANDIE has strong links with Toyota and it is hoped their connections will keep Insure The Box at the forefront of the telematics market.
Insure The Box is one of the UK’s biggest sellers of insurance using telematics, which puts technology in customers’ cars to measure their speed, braking and the distance driven each day. It uses the information to record how safely its customers drive and adjusts their insurance premiums accordingly.
The technology, which is predominantly aimed at young drivers, is their own and has attracted some 150,000 customers in the UK.
Speaking to The Journal, Mr Brockman said: “This is fantastic news for the Newcastle part of our business, because that’s the heart of Insure The Box.
“We’ve been looking for a deal like this for some time, and the fit couldn’t be better. ANDIE doesn’t have much infrastructure in the UK, so they can see the opportunity there, but it does have strong links to manufacturers like Toyota.
“The motor insurance space is changing very quickly, and as we see the development of technologies like driverless cars, we will probably get to a point in 30 years where insurance looks nothing like what it does now. The key for us is to keep on top of those trends by remaining close the manufacturers. This deal does just that.”
The deal also represents an exit for BIG shareholders Catlin Group who expect to make £85m from the move.
A statement from ANDIE said: “MS&AD believes in the technical evolution in the automotive sector, and that the future mobility trends will lead to a strong increase in demand for connected car solutions and services over the next 10 years.
“ANDIE has core competences in motor insurance, automotive related insurance products and mobility solutions. The strong potential for future strategic growth and synergies has also helped underpin the acquisition of BIG.
“ANDIE will take over the underwriting of the main parts of Insure The Box’s business. In parallel BIG will be encouraged to develop solutions and underwriting partnerships across Europe.”
Insure The Box owns the insurethebox and drive like a girl brands, as well as administering the Tesco Bank Box telematics proposition.
The firm’s customer service centre is operated from Newcastle’s Quorum Business Park.