Autoline was established in Newry in 1975 and was acquired by Michael Blaney in 1997.

TWO of the north’s leading names in the insurance industry are coming together in a deal which will create a £100 million turnover business with around 800 employees.

Autoline, established in 1975 and acquired by Michael Blaney in 1997, provides a wide range of personal lines, business and commercial insurance and the award-winning Chilli Drive young driver app. It has a network of four branches and a head office in Newry.

Prestige Insurance Holdings, parent company of Abbey Insurance and which earlier this year announced a major investment by US-based investor Capital Z, has signed an agreement to acquire Autoline Insurance for an undisclosed fee.

Prestige Insurance Holdings was established in Newtownabbey in 1973 and provides a wide range of insurance services including broking, underwriting, insurance software and claims management. Its head office is in Carrickfergus and it operated 23 branches across the north.

The deal – which is subject regulatory approval – would see Prestige Insurance Holdings acquiring the full shareholding of Autoline’s parent company, with the expanded Group employing a total of over 700 employees.

£100m Combined turnover

In its last trading year Autoline, which has 206 staff, had sales of £53.5 million and retained a profit of £1.76m.

The turnover at Prestige was £43.7m and it reported an operating profit of £2.5m. It has 570 staff.

Trevor Shaw, chief executive of Prestige Insurance Holdings, said: “Following the investment brought by our new majority owners Capital Z, we have openly stated that we have ambitious plans for growth of the group.

“Very much like our own business, Autoline has a customer-centred approach and a strong reputation, which makes it an excellent fit and an obvious choice for acquisition.

“As a newly combined management team we will utilise the knowledge and experience of both businesses for the benefit of our customers and for maximum growth in Northern Ireland and beyond.”

Autoline principal Michael Blaney said: “We believe this is the right and best approach to building on the value we have created in recent years for our customers and employees at Autoline. I’m confident this will deliver enhanced opportunities and benefits for both customers and staff going forward.”

Mr Shaw added: “Both businesses have a successful track record and we will be firmly focused on ensuring business as usual for all customers and staff. Customers of both businesses can be confident that their current insurance cover will not be affected by this move.”