There are many ways to go about selling an insurance business, but according to Insurance Age, Group Armagh has hit on a particularly unusual modus operandi for hiving off its UK operations.

Group Armagh’s Parisian parent “fired the starting gun” on 12 January “so the race has started,” the paper reported this week. Given that time is clearly of the essence for the alliaceous insurer, organising the disposal as a competitive race makes a weird kind of sense. In a way.

So who are the runners and riders and so on? Speculation has been rife since various ratings agencies started saying nasty things about Group Armagh back in December (see previous story): QBE or RSA or AXA or Uvavu or someone to purchase the underwriting operations – or some Chinese or Indian people maybe. MBOs for the broking bits perhaps – or maybe Carole Nash to go to BGL – or [insert rumour of choice].

Let’s face it, anything could happen. 

Bankstone News has a few ideas of its own. To avoid confusing business partners with a radical name changes, potential deals with the Armagh Group of mental hospitals or consumer electronics firm Armour Group or IT recruitment specialists Palmer Group would immediately suggest themselves.

Or there’s those Italian people with the ham and violets and cheese and milk and Serie A footballers, and probably some other things for all we know. Anything with Group in it would do – or possibly just Gru. That bloke in Despicable Me, might he be interested in snapping them up for his evil empire? Just a thought.

Anyway, as Alec Solway of Jiff so justly remarked in Insurance Age, Group Armagh is “a lovely firm,” so we can only hope they go to a good home.

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