Whittington

Whittington Group is an insurance investment vehicle mostly owned by two Private Equity businesses based in Hong Kong.

Whittington has been divesting its portfolio over the last few years.

The Direct Asia group is the last Whittington asset to be sold and is currently awaiting regulatory approval for its acquisition by the Hiscox Group.

For Enquiries

Anthony Hobrow
Whittington Group Pte Ltd
88 South Bridge Road
Singapore 058716
T: +65 6593 3801

Anthony.hobrow@whittington.asia

Press Release

Online insurer DirectAsia.com, acquired by global specialist Hiscox

Release date: 03 Mar 2014

  • Acquired for USD55 million plus earn out over four years
  • Complements Hiscox’s existing direct to consumer retail offering
  • Significant plans to invest in building the business

Hamilton, Bermuda (Monday 3rd March 2014) – Hiscox, the global specialist insurance group, is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement with Whittington Group, the Singapore-headquartered insurance services and investment business, to acquire its direct-to-consumer online operation DirectAsia.com, subject to regulatory approval.

DirectAsia.com was founded in Singapore in 2010 and launched into Hong Kong in 2012 and Thailand in 2013. Its primary business is motor, one of the few non-discretionary insurances in Asia, with ancillary lines in travel, personal accident, healthcare and life. DirectAsia.com has a strong business model, operates in markets where agent based channels with high distribution costs predominate, and uses market leading rating mechanisms. It has over 54,000 customers, employs 140 people across the three locations in which it operates and in 2013 had gross written premiums of USD25.3 million.

Bronek Masojada, Hiscox CEO, commented:

"DirectAsia.com is a challenger brand with real potential. It gives Hiscox a 21st century distribution platform in Asia that leapfrogs traditional routes to market. DirectAsia.com complements our direct-to-consumer businesses in Europe and the US, and in time, we will use it to distribute Hiscox products."

Anthony Hobrow, CEO Whittington Group, said:

"We have developed a successful entrepreneurial business, taking on the global giants with traditional distribution models. We are very pleased that we have been able to pass this unique platform to Hiscox who can supply expertise, capital and a strong customer focussed culture to help us further develop and grow the business."

The business will continue to operate under the DirectAsia.com brand and with the existing local management team, which will be led by Steve Langan – Hiscox UK and Europe MD and now CEO of DirectAsia.com Group.

Hiscox, headquartered in Bermuda, is an international specialist insurance group listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange. DirectAsia.com will be Hiscox’s first business in Asia, and builds on its other direct-to-consumer operations in Europe and the US. DirectAsia.com is built on the same efficient and scalable IT platform that Hiscox UK is migrating to. It supports the insurer’s existing strategy to grow the retail lines of business and balance the more catastrophe exposed, internationally traded lines, where it expands and contracts according to market conditions.

The acquisition has been approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and is subject to regulatory approval from the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) in Hong Kong. Other interested parties including the Bermuda Monetary Authority, the Prudential Regulatory Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, the Office of Insurance Commission (OIC) in Thailand, and Lloyd’s of London have also been notified of the transaction.

DirectAsia.com
Singapore
DirectAsia.com Singapore
Hong Kong
DirectAsia.com Hong Kong
Thailand
DirectAsia.com Thailand
Hiscox Group    

Financial information for Whittington Group Pte Limited

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