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This article first featured in Insurance Age on May 23, 2024.

ARAG and Das have exited the state of limbo and can now power forward with the integration of the two businesses, the bosses have told Insurance Age.

Speaking at the British Insurance Brokers’ Association Conference, ARAG UK CEO Tony Buss and chief operating officer Tony Coram confirmed that senior management function regulatory approval came through in April.

Though the deal to bring ARAG and Das together was struck in July 2023 and completed in January 2024, without the final piece of the jigsaw, the leaders had been in “limbo”, Buss noted.

The first part of this year has been the design phase, rather than taking decisions, Coram concurred: “We have been designing the operating model of the future working out the decisions.”

Adding: “As we move into the summer, we roll into the delivery stage. Those things will come to life but there are some foundation things that we have to do this year to make the company start operating as one.”

Work streams

There have been 12 work streams, Buss calculated, noting there were a couple of hundred major decisions to make.


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“A lot of it is around the products,” he continued. “We call it best in class. It is not just about the best of the two, as actually we are taking the opportunity of looking at the whole market.”

Buss led ARAG plc before the takeover with Coram the CEO of DAS. Together, the legal expenses insurance companies represented gross written premium of approximately £190m in 2022.

Rebrand With the merger now able to push ahead, everything will be rebranded to ARAG UK as of January.

“The migration of things like policy wordings will go through a cycle,” Coram detailed. “It will take 12 to 18 months to wash through. That is not a surprise; we have done it before and know the cycle. It just takes time.”

The plan is to have a single platform on Acturis by April 2025.


Last July, the two firms stressed they would remain independent in the short term.

Buss acknowledged the biggest area of concern had been around Das’ customers given this would be where the name change hit and loyalty to the brand was high.

“I haven’t head one negative thing,” he stressed. “[The] reaction from all brokers and our partners has been very positive. We have had no loss of business.”

According to Coram, all DAS’ partners “get the logic” of the deal. From one perspective, it looked like a reverse takeover, with ARAG having over £60m of GWP while DAS was touching £130m.

Coram accepted that on premium, this was the case, but flagged that as a monoline part of the Ergo Group, its understanding of the wider LEI insurance market was “definitely smaller”.

ARAG works with 500 brokers, whereas though DAS has a similar number trading with it, 80% of the business comes through nine partners in big corporate accounts.


The whole transition could take up to three years and will not be cheap. “Our parent company have said take your time and get it right,” Buss commented. “They have put in a lot of extra investment.”

There will be a lot of exceptional costs. “The real benefit will be bringing DAS’ IT system up to speed. Let’s be honest – there has been a lack of investment for quite a time,” Buss observed.

The end goal is a quicker, slicker, more accurate offering. While the planning has started, the drive will not begin until next year and will take up to two years.

“That cost will save us a lot of money eventually,” Buss calculated.


Coram also hailed the data power of the combined entity. “We have got some scale now where we can actually do a lot more test and learn,” he said, arguing it would bring best in class to life.

In Buss’ opinion, an enlarged data pool will bring the confidence to price better: “Combining the data is going to be one of the most worthwhile things we will do.”

In the holding period to the end of 2023, ARAG’s gross written premium surged 8.6% to £66.1m as profits rose £300,000 year-on-year to £800,000. DAS grew 6% across its portfolio and returned to profit – £2.8m – having posted more than £7m of losses in 2022.

“We hit our planned profitability in a year of acquisition,” said Coram. “We were in-line with what our sellers case said and there were no surprises as the deal closed.”


The leadership pair underlined that maintaining service had been key, and committed they would stay focused on ongoing business during the integration.

Coram said: “We have to move on but be careful and can’t be distracted from what we need to do on business as usual. We have to deliver throughout as well as integrate and merge.”

The combination makes ARAG UK the largest international part of the group outside its German headquarters.


ARAG previously traded in the UK as an MGA – known as ARAG plc. The acquisition has moved the business to being an insurer. Buss had worked at Das before leaving to set up ARAG's UK unit and acknowledged there is a degree of difference internally between the two styles.

With his experience, he is confident on the future in the new format for ARAG with all business going into the insurer.

“We don’t want to lose that [MGA] agility and want to keep that, but equally we have our own capacity as an insurer,” said Buss.

Coram echoed: “They wanted a primary insurer in the UK market. In Das, they got one that was under-invested. What ARAG can bring is that investment and the tech so we become a more efficient and effective insurer rather than an older clunkier one.”


Both parties have long had their UK headquarters in Bristol. Staff have already been told that the Arag plc employees will move into DAS’ office next year.

It was a move that all the people had expected, Buss said. The structure for merging the headcount is being worked through but both bosses were at pains to say while there may be savings, it was not a shrink to greatness play.

Where there is duplication of roles “we expect to grow and that growth will more than counteract” the effect, Buss ended, with no redundancies planned among the 850 people. And Coram concluded that though ARAG UK “won’t have two people doing the same jobs” it will “redeploy or retrain” as necessary.

Disclaimer - all information in this article was correct at time of publishing.