06:53, August 08 229 0

2017-08-08 06:53:07
Keoghs in talks to take over Hill Dickinson insurance business

Hill Dickinson is in high-level talks to transfer the firm’s non-marine insurance business group to Keoghs.

Talks are understood to have been ongoing for several months and, subject to a partner vote, could see the deal completed before the end of this calendar year.

Should the transfer be finalised, Hill Dickinson will retain its marine insurance and clinical negligence work, as these areas have always operated independently of the area Keoghs has an interest in.

Hill Dickinson chief executive Peter Jackson said: “I believe that our partners and staff involved in any transition would benefit from moving to a firm whose sole focus is insurance and has invested heavily in IT to service clients efficiently.

“Furthermore, it would allow us to focus our resource and efforts on areas of future strategic growth, including marine, commercial and health work, while maintaining close relationships with Keoghs to provide an enhanced offering to our retained clients who require insurance related advice.”

Keoghs CEO John Whittle said: “Whilst still at an early stage, any deal would be fully in-tune with our vision of creating the pre-eminent legal services provider for the UK insurance industry, however it would be premature to comment further on the progression of such discussions until we have fully consulted with our clients and our people.”

Speaking to The Lawyer, Jackson said that this deal was about “cementing the future for the firm’s insurance people” and allow Hill Dickinson to concentrate on its remaining core areas.

Jackson said: “This area of insurance is a heavily commoditised business which can’t compete with our other core areas such as marine insurance and health. We feel this non-marine insurance work is going to a firm that has the right investment capability and right infrastructure to continue its success.”

The deal could see 16 partners move from Hill Dickinson to Keoghs reducing the firm’s partnership from 139 to 123. In March, it was announced that the firm would close its Sheffield office when a 24-strong team moved to Kennedys which included partners Alan Dury, Suzanne Wilkinson and Paul Bedford.

Hill Dickinson has seen a number of internal changes in the last 12 months after a leadership reshuffle saw Jackson move from the managing partner role to chief executive and David Wareing become the firm’s new chairman. The appointment of Alterian deputy chairman Iain Johnston as the firm’s first chief operating officer completed the restructure.