In July 2019, Crawford & Company acquired Penta Expertise & Consult NV (Penta). The move was a significant step for Crawford in the Benelux region as it now meant it could offer the full range of loss adjusting, accounting, engineering and loss mitigation services to clients. One year on, we look at just how the integration process has gone.
“The acquisition of Penta has been a clear success story for Crawford,” believes Niels de Kock, country manager for the Netherlands and Belgium at Crawford. “The team already had an excellent reputation in the Belgian market and were market leaders in the provision of technical and engineering claims management services. Prior to the acquisition, while we had a very strong TPA offering through Broadspire we were not able to offer the high-end loss adjusting proposition in Belgium that is a core element of our capabilities in most other countries.”
Yet while Penta clearly provided Crawford a service capability it did not yet have in the country, a successful integration is about much more than simply meeting a market need.
“There has to be a strong cultural fit for an acquisition to be a success,” Niels explains, “and it was clear from the start that fit was there. Penta not only prided itself on the technical quality of its team but also the quality of service it provided – we had worked with their teams previously and knew that to be the case. These are central pillars of the Crawford solution and so the synergy between our two operations was there from the off.”
So when it came to integrating the Penta team into the Crawford family, it was very much a case of ‘If it’s not broken, don’t fix it’, with the company adopting what might be described as a light touch approach to the integration process.
“We’ve been very careful at every stage in the process we did not disrupt what was already a team that was working very well and had built very secure client relationships in the market,” he continues. “You must remember that this is a company that has been led by the same partners for about 15 years – so it’s a very secure company. Lieven Gurny, one of the partners, took up the position of managing director following the acquisition.”
From an integration perspective, the focus therefore has been primarily on connecting Penta into the operational framework at Crawford – harmonizing reporting practices, HR processes, claims systems and ensuring best practice is maintained throughout.
According to Lieven, the integration of Penta into Crawford has been handled very carefully to ensure zero disruption to its operations.
“Over the past year, we have worked to achieve operational integration,” he explains. “All stages in this process have been mutually agreed and conducted in a considered way to ensure that the DNA that characterises PENTA has been preserved as well as the relationships with our clients.”
“As a result of the acquisition,” he continues, “we are now part of a global organization that encompasses a broad network of clients and we are now able to offer our technical knowledge and experience to a much larger audience. In addition, we benefit from numerous opportunities to further develop and grow our business. I look forward to the future with confidence.”
Now a fully functioning part of the Crawford family, the benefits of the relationship are becoming more evident by the day.
“Through Penta we are now able to offer our clients in Belgium a seamless service that combines TPA services and high-end loss adjusting. But we are also seeing significant opportunities to introduce the Penta team to a broader, international client base. For example, our European Head of GTS, Rob Kleinveld, is based in the Netherlands and he has been introducing Penta to clients outside of Belgium, including companies in the Netherlands, Germany and France.”
And the expansion is not just from an international perspective. Penta is also capitalizing on the expansive specialisms within the company’s suite of services.
“Our colleagues in the Netherlands have been at the forefront of developing our cyber proposition for North-western Europe and we have a cyber hub for incident management in Belgium. Since Penta came onboard, we’ve been able to train a number of their adjuster to be cyber incident responders and they are contributing greatly to enhancing the maturity of our cyber capabilities. The team has already worked on a number of high-profile cyber incidents.”
Integrations can be very tricky processes to get right, but in the case of Penta it’s clear that when the shape is right the new piece can slot in seamlessly.