Davies Group acquires defendant law firm Keoghs

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Davies Group has acquired defendant law firm Keoghs, in a deal that will create an insurance business with a workforce of more than 3,700 people.

Keoghs, which manages more than £1 billion worth of insurer claims and resolves in excess of 100,000 claims per annum, will form a new legal solutions arm within Davies, as the business continues to deepen its capability and domain expertise across its global insurance and highly regulated market segments.

The law firm’s chief executive, John Whittle, will continue to lead the business and will join the Davies executive committee, reporting to group chief executive Dan Saulter.

Whittle and the Keoghs management team will join Davies and become shareholders in the enlarged business. The deal is subject to customary regulatory approvals, and is expected to close during Q1 2020.

The addition of Keoghs will see the Davies global workforce increase to more than 3,700 colleagues, with operating centres across the UK, Ireland, Bermuda, the US and Canada. The combined business serves more than 500 insurance clients.

Since 2015, Davies has increased its annual investments in innovation and digital transformation more than four-fold, including in its CQ claims processing platform, its video and drone claims handling solutions, as well as investing in automation, speech analytics and virtual reality training solutions.

In 2019, Davies delivered revenue growth of 49%, including double-digit organic growth, as it launched new claims and insurance operations in the US, as well as doubling the size of its Ireland operations via the acquisition of Thornton Group and significant new business wins.

In the UK the firm added a new learning solutions segment to its consulting and technology offering, through the acquisition of FWD, and added new claims capabilities through the acquisitions of TMS, GBB and Banwells.

Commenting on the acquisition, Saulter said: “Keoghs and Davies were both founded in 1968 and have proudly served the insurance market and our clients for more than 50 years. Both firms have a big focus on values, culture and employee success.”

“At Davies we place considerable value on disruptive thinking and new ideas. Keoghs has made investments in R&D and innovation in the past five years, not least in its core case management system and client-facing solutions, particularly ‘Lauri’, the legal-AI platform, and ‘ADA’, the fraud detection solution.”

He added: “To compete and win in an increasingly integrated global insurance market, it is essential that we can offer our clients valuable solutions right across the insurance, claims and risk value chain. The addition of Keoghs to our growing Davies platform provides an exciting opportunity for us to take a new message to our clients, and to provide new opportunities for our teams across the world.”

Whittle said: “The insurance market is undergoing exciting change with the wide scale adoption of technology offering new innovative opportunities to provide services to the market on an industrial scale. The Keoghs strategy has always been to place our business, our clients and our people at the heart of this change, driving forwards to create the preeminent law firm in the insurance legal sector.”

“The opportunity to join forces with Davies was too good an opportunity to miss to deliver on this, and we are delighted to be a part of an organisation that has a single, shared and unified vision for the future.”

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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk