Belfast-based Willis Insurance and Risk Management (Willis IRM) has acquired McCausland, Light and Rankin in Castlereagh and Hull-based Kennett Insurance Brokers for an undisclosed sum.

The deals will bring together two of Northern Ireland’s best-known independent brokers and further extend Willis IRM’s presence in England, where it already has an office in Reading.

The firms will continue to trade as McCausland, Light and Rankin and Kennett Insurance respectively while the existing management and staff will also be retained, bringing the overall number employed by Willis IRM to more than 100.

Willis IRM Managing Director Richard Willis, whose father Robert Willis set up the firm almost 40 years ago, said the acquisitions would further strengthen its offering to companies across all sectors.

“We are delighted to come together with two long established brokers, each of them, like ourselves, have built up a strong client base over many years.

“The acquisition of local business McCausland, Light and Rankin will further strengthen our significant presence in the transportation industry and broaden our expertise in the taxi sector.

“By acquiring Kennett Insurance Brokers, we are continuing our strategy of growing independent businesses and will continue the good work undertaken by Nick Wride and his team in establishing a solid reputation in east Yorkshire.

“It follows the opening of Willis IRM’s office in Reading in 2015 and we continue to look for further opportunities for growth through strategic acquisitions.

“The clients of both firms will have access to Willis IRM’s full-service offering, which includes Risk Management, Health and Safety, Financial Services and Employment Law.”

McCausland Light and Rankin (MLR) was established in 1993 by Gary McCausland and operates from premises at Castlereagh Business Park where it employs more than 20 staff.

MLR Managing Director Gary McCausland said:

“The success of McCausland, Light and Rankin has been due to providing customer focused personal services to all our clients.

“It is that customer service which has allowed us to enjoy an exceptional client retention rate and it is an ethos that is shared with Willis IRM. We look forward to pooling our resources to further strengthen our offering to existing and future clients.”

Kennett Insurance was set up in 1975 and employs 10 staff at its office in Saxon Business Park in Hessle, just outside Hull.

Kennett Insurance Managing Director Nick Wride said:

“Kennett Insurance Brokers has a long tradition of working with a wide range of companies in Hull and the Humber.

“We look forward to a new period of growth in the local market following the acquisition by Willis Insurance and Risk Management.”

Willis IRM was originally set up in Bangor in 1978 by Robert Willis, its current Executive Chairman.

The company is also run by Managing Director Richard Willis and his three brothers as shareholders and directors. The firm has grown significantly and has seen staff numbers double in the last three years, prior to the acquisition of McCausland, Light and Rankin and Kennett Insurance Brokers.