DWF announces May takeover of £2.5m insurance practice Watmores

DWF is to merge with the niche insurance firm Watmores in May.

The Chancery Lane-based practice is a limited company of around £2.5m turnover which employs 26 people, including five partners and directors. 

It specialises in dispute resolution and litigation insurance for clients including insurers, rail operators and local authorities, including 13 of the 32 local authorities based in London.

DWF managing partner and CEO Andrew Leaitherland said: “Watmores has first-rate niche expertise which complements, and will add depth to, our own enabling us to deliver enhanced service to our existing clients and also to grow our client base of insurers, local authorities and rail operators.”

Watmores partner Simon Johnson added: “Combining forces with DWF will enable us to capitalise on the firm’s infrastructure, tech capability and reach to strengthen our shared focus and capability in key industry sectors for the benefit of our clients, a significant number of whom we have in common.”

All Watmores’ staff will join DWF’s office in the Walkie Talkie building, which the firm moved into last year (14 May 2014).

The Watmores acquistion is the latest in a line of mergers that has seen DWF’s turnover and headcount balloon.

In 2012 it joined with Newcastle’s Crutes (25 Nov 2011), Birmingham and Coventry firm Buller Jeffries (2 April 2012) and Scottish firm Biggart Baillie (20 Jun 2012).

Then in 2013 it acquired professional indemnity practice Fishburns (18 Jan 2013) and much of failed firm Cobbetts in a pre-pack administration (6 February 2013). The firm’s LLP accounts for 2012/13 reveal that it spent £17m on mergers over that period. (20 Nov 2013)