Hill Dickinson agrees deal to transfer £23m insurance business to Keoghs

Hill Dickinson has agreed a deal to transfer its £23m insurance business to Keoghs.

The deal, confirmed today (3 October), includes 16 partners and about 400 other fee earners and staff based in Liverpool, London and Manchester but excludes Hill Dickinson’s marine insurance and clinical negligence business.

All will transfer to Keoghs by the end of January 2018, when Keoghs will gain a presence in Liverpool, where it will sub-let premises from Hill Dickinson as part of the transaction.

Confirmation of the sale comes after Hill Dickinson chief executive Peter Jackson said in August that the firm was in talks to sell the business to Keoghs, with the deal expected to be finalised before the end of September.

Keoghs CEO John Whittle commented: “When combined with our recent office openings in Southampton, London and Glasgow, this acquisition is the latest investment to enable us to deliver on our vision of becoming the pre-eminent legal services provider for the UK insurance industry.

“In the current climate of consolidation within insurance law, investment in people, technology and infrastructure are the key factors to enable success. Keoghs [is] at the forefront of driving market change and [we are] determined to put clear blue water between us and our competitors.”

Hill Dickinson CEO Peter Jackson added: “I believe that our partners and staff involved in transferring to Keoghs will benefit from moving to a firm whose sole focus is insurance and which has invested heavily in infrastructure to service clients effectively and efficiently, both now and in the future.

“Furthermore, it will also allow us to focus our resource and efforts on areas of future strategic growth in our core business areas of health, marine and commercial, whilst at the same time maintaining close relationships with Keoghs to provide an enhanced offering to our retained clients who require insurance-related advice.”

At the time of announcing the discussions, Hill Dickinson said that after the transfer it would focus on “areas of future strategic growth”, including marine, commercial and health.

The firm had a challenging year in 2016-17. Its most recent financial results show a 1.4% drop in revenue to £101.7m, against a 12.7% fall in average profit per equity partner from £314,000 to £274,000.

Earlier this year, Hill Dickinson held a round of unsuccessful merger talks with insurance and shipping firm Ince & Co.

In March, a 24-person personal injury team left Hill Dickinson to join Kennedys as Hill Dickinson closed down its Sheffield office after the loss of a major client.