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.
Whittington Group Pte Ltd
88 South Bridge Road
T: +65 6593 3801
Online insurer DirectAsia.com, acquired by global specialist Hiscox
Release date: 03 Mar 2014
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:
Anthony Hobrow, CEO Whittington Group, said:
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 Hong Kong