The county Group team in Crewe

Major South Cheshire employer The County Group has announced further expansion to become one of the country’s largest insurance brokers.

The company, with its headquarters in Crewe, has acquired Wigan-based Guardian Insurance Brokers as part of a plan to double its size over the next five years.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, is the first since County became part of Global Risk Partners (GRP) a specialist investment vehicle for brokers and managing general agents.

County CEO Dave Clapp said: “This is the first of many acquisitions planned under the banner of GRP Group, as we work towards achieving our plan to double our size over the next five years.

“Guardian handles £14m in premium and, being based in Wigan, complements our current footprint perfectly.”

The move follows a period of growth for The County Group which has expanded to 24 branches countrywide and employs more than 270 people.

More than 50 of them are based at head office on Crewe Business Park in sales, accounting, HR, compliance and marketing roles.

Mr Clapp, who founded the business in 2003, has remained at the helm since GRP’s takeover in January.

new Nantwich Town director - Dave Clapp, CEO County Insurance

Dave Clapp, County Insurance

He said that Guardian co-founders Steve Smith and Adrian Mead will continue to run the business.

“Steve, Adrian and the team have built a fantastic business over the last five years, delivering phenomenal growth, and we are really excited about working together in the future.”

Steve Smith, managing director of Guardian, added: “The County Group are the right choice for us as partners on the next stage in our journey.

“Dave Clapp and his team share our aspirations and ethos, and now we have joined forces with one of the most driven and ambitious insurance businesses in the UK, we are all really excited about the future.”

The Guardian deal brings County’s annual GWP to £80m across 24 branches which are predominantly located in the North West.

Mike Bruce, GRP’s CEO, Broking said: “GRP is fully committed to accelerating growth through our UK regional centres, and we have a strong pipeline both via the hubs and through potential acquisitions at group level.

“Guardian is a very strong business with a tradition of excellent client service. I am delighted it is joining GRP, where I am confident it will go from strength to strength.”

The County Group, one of the UK’s top 25 independent brokers, offers a diverse range of personal and business insurance products.

It has won a plethora of awards over the years including South Cheshire Chamber Large Business and Insurance Broker of the Year.

For more on insurance products visit or call 01270 748038.

(Pic: The County Group team at head office on Crewe Business Park)

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