Abbey diretors to pick up £65m after insurer is sold to Markel of US

Directors and executives at Abbey Protection will share £65m between them after accepting a takeover offer from its US rival Markel.

Colin Davidson, the chief executive of the specialist insurer, will collect £18m, as will managing director Chris Ward. Liz Grace, who runs the company's tax division, will pick up £12m. The £116.5m deal has already been backed by investors holding 67 per cent of the group's shares.

Tony Shearer, the chairman of the AIM-listed group, said: "As Abbey Protection looks to the next stage of its growth strategy, the board believes that now is the right time for a change of ownership. Markel Corporation is a highly regarded insurer with an international reputation and has a strong track record in providing specialist insurance products to SMEs." Abbey Protection posted pre-tax profits of £5.2m in the six months ending 30 June on revenues of £20.7m. The company, founded in 1992, employs 275.

It is understood its management team will stay on for an unspecified period before handing over to a new team.

William Stovin, the president of Markel International, said: "From our first meeting, it was clear that there was a strong cultural fit between our organisations, and we are looking forward to working with the Abbey Protection management.

"It's our expectation that Abbey Protection will continue to operate under its own successful brand, while our capital and risk appetite will enable it to retain more underwriting risk and to explore growth initiatives currently beyond its reach."

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