Insurance giant Parabis on verge of £90m merger with Greenwoods

Defendant insurance firm Plexus Law, a subsidiary of Parabis, is to merge with Greenwoods to create a £90m firm.

Both firms have signed heads of terms and the deal is expected to complete in mid May. Combined the £90m firm will be home to more than 1,200 staff with approximately 12 equity and fixed share partners Parabis Law LLP.

Tim Oliver
Tim Oliver

As part of the deal, Greenwoods partner Malcolm Henké becomes a senior partner in the merged firm. He joins the executive management team of Plexus Law, as does fellow partner Richard Houseago.

Greenwoods senior partner Paul Parsons, meanwhile, will step back from day-to-day management of the firm but will remain involved in projects which assist the integration of the two practices.

The move is aimed at building Parabis’ reach into the lucrative Lloyd’s of London insurance market, with Greenwoods adding expertise in catastrophic loss claims, pure insurance coverage, major property damage and construction liability claims.

Parabis chief executive Tim Oliver said commoditised insurers and their Lloyd’s counterparts had moved to consolidate their panels and were actively looking to reduce their roster of advisors. Consequently, it was the firms with the broadest reach that were winning out.

In recent weeks both AIG and Aviva have launched panel reviews in the insurance sector.

The Greenwoods brand will remain alongside Plexus Law as part of a Parabis Law LLP, which collectively will turn over around £150m.

Oliver said: “This is a great deal for both firms. We have been respected competitors for many years. Together we have greater strength in depth and capability the better to serve our clients in this rapidly developing market.

“Clients want to work with firms that offer them a full range of practice capabilities and geographic reach. By joining forces with Greenwoods, and on the back of our merger announced in 2011 with Everatt & Co, we have high-end specialist expertise and strength in depth capable of running the biggest and most complex of cases.”

The deal comes after a busy start to 2013 for Plexus Law. In April the firm announced the development of its presence in Scotland, which was opened in November (6 November 2012), with a second office launch in Edinburgh in April (3 April 2013).

In March, the firm announced the key hires of Jason Spencer from Hill Dickinson and Laurence Ives to lead development of a bespoke sector service to its insurer, broker and corporate clients (6 March 2013).

In 2012 alongside appointments to insurer panels, Plexus Law also achieved a number of notable national public sector wins including the Government Procurement Service, Metropolitan Police and the Insurance London Consortium (ILC) representing seven London boroughs (29 August 2012).

Last September the SRA approved Parabis’ application for an ABS licence backed by private equity house Duke Street (3 September 2012). It came almost six months after the deal was set up with Duke Street injecting £50m into the firm (6 February 2012).