PIB Group acquires Balens and moves into health, wellbeing, fitness, and beauty sectors

June 29, 2022

PIB Group Limited (‘PIB’) is adding to its portfolio of businesses and specialisms by entering the health, wellbeing, fitness and beauty sectors through the acquisition of Balens.

Headquartered in Worcestershire, the investment will include Balens Ltd and the wholly owned subsidiaries Balens Europe B.V. (based in the Netherlands and regulated by AFM and therefore pending regulatory approval), as well as Balens Insurance Finance Services Limited (together ‘Balens’). The highly regarded fourth generation family run establishment boasts a 72-year trading history and is one of the largest brokers of their kind in the UK. 

Brendan McManus, CEO for PIB Group commented: “This is a very special business, and I am absolutely delighted that PIB Group will become their new home. Over several decades, David and the team have built an excellent business and earned a loyal customer base. Their deep expertise in their specialist areas is an obvious draw for PIB. However, we have been equally impressed by their genuine concern for customers, ethics and integrity that is firmly engrained in their culture. They’re a great fit for PIB. We look forward to working with everyone at Balens to build on their heritage for further success.

David Balen, Chairman for Balens commented: “I am delighted that we will be joining the PIB Group! This is an important step for Balens to help take us up to the next level. It will also help develop and improve our structures and service, giving us a greater resilience and bargaining power on behalf of our clients. Our family has been on an amazing journey since 1950, and much of our success is testament to our brilliant teams over the years and our loyal clients. I have always believed that insurance is about trust, quality relationships and good communication as the essential roots to our ever growing tree as depicted in our logo and brand. I believe our values are very much aligned to those of PIB, which will be a great new home, from which to continue to grow and expand our business ethically and organically into the future.” 

About Balens

Balens’ main area of specialisation is to provide insurance in the UK and Europe for around 100,000 health, wellbeing, fitness and beauty professionals, businesses, affinity groups and the not-for-profit organisations.

Established in 1950 by musicians Harry and Lily Balen, Balens initially specialised in the entertainment profession. When son David Balen took over as Managing Director in 1980, he had a personal interest in the benefit of natural medicines. This led to setting up a multi-therapy insurance scheme for health professionals, which were not easily available at the time. The next stage of development saw a move into health and wellbeing, and charities from the 1990’s. David now holds the role of Chairman, while sons Joe and Josh are now joint Managing Directors.

Range of cover 

Today, Balens continues to be a thriving business grown mainly by recommendation. It is formed by a 70-strong team with its headquarters in Malvern, Worcestershire as well as a small team in the Amsterdam office for the Dutch business. The team takes particular pride in maintaining a market leading position in terms of quality of cover, service, advice and value since the early 1990s.

Joe Balen, joint MD for Balens, commented: “This is an exciting opportunity for Balens, our staff, and clients. We have always been focused on continually evolving, and having recently navigated the challenges of Brexit and the global pandemic, are now looking to the future. Being part of something bigger like PIB means we can look ahead to a very exciting next stage whilst tapping into the stability of PIB’s resources and networks to take our company to another level. I’m really looking forward to the opportunities this will bring.” 

Exclusive products and range of cover

Professionals can enjoy access to an exclusive combined liability policy, covering professional liability (including malpractice), public and products’ liability, focused towards health and wellbeing professionals. These include Health and Wellbeing Practitioners, Fitness Professionals, Hair and Beauty Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Case Managers, First Aid and Trainers and many more. 

Meanwhile, packages are available to extend the range of protection required for businesses and organisations with a particular specialism for clinics, teaching establishments, salons and spas. Plus, associations, charities, and the not-for-profit sector. Expert support is also available for associations and organisations where the team can develop highly customised affinity group schemes, with a range of back up services to support and help enhance membership.

Community and charity

In addition to their strong commercial focus, colleagues are active in the community space and niche sectors. They regularly extend their support for the wellbeing and charity sectors to champion the benefits of their work, and Balens provide such things as subsidized CPD conferences for their client base, with lecture recordings available online after the events.

The Balens Giving initiative has also been established for several years to offer regular contributions to local charities with a focus on complementary and natural medicine, together with supporting the charitable interest of employees by matching any funds that they raise for good causes. 

Future for growth

Following regulatory approval and on completion of the deal, the same team will remain. New on the horizon however will be aligning opportunities with PIB’s rapid international expansion.

Josh Balen, joint MD for Balens commented: “I’m delighted that Balens is entering a new phase in its history by joining PIB Group as our long term destination. We chose PIB because they are different. While the focus is on bringing in niche businesses and specialists to the Group, there is a true emphasis on ensuring that those specialists have the space to get on with what they’re good at. With PIB and the additional resources plus expertise they bring we can revisit some of our ambitions, such as extending our offering to the wider European community and bringing into action long awaited new products and services. But first off, our focus will be to enjoy setting down roots in our new home and looking after our people and clients. I am really excited for what the future holds and the opportunities that lie ahead on our new journey with PIB.”

This is PIB’s ninth acquisition of 2022, which has included businesses spanning the UK, Poland, Ireland and Spain.

About Balens

Balens is a fourth generation family run specialist insurance broker for health, wellbeing, fitness and beauty professionals and organisations. The highly regarded fourth generation family business boasts a 72-year trading history and is one of the largest brokers of their kind in the UK and abroad. The Group is formed of:
  • Balens Ltd – the primary operating entity, for business conducted in the UK market providing insurance policies to the health, wellbeing, fitness and beauty sectors.
  • Balens Europe B.V. (B.V.) - a subsidiary based in Amsterdam, regulated by the Dutch regulatory authority. The subsidiary was established due to Brexit requirements, as Balens have been operating in European markets since 2007.
  • Balens Insurance Finance Services Limited - provides premium financing services to clients of Balens Ltd.

For more information visit their website here.