Our story

We began as just three people and a dog

This is a story about independence

Through the 1980s, our Founder David Howden was cutting his teeth in the insurance industry.  But it seemed that wherever he worked, acquisition by a large competitor was always imminent. Sick of being bought, he decided to create a business that would never be sold. 

Even from that first day, Howden had five key things that we still hold dear today:

  1. An employee-ownership model 
  2. The trust and integrity born of friendship 
  3. Deep expertise
  4. Independence
  5. Aligned external investors 

From the beginning, the driving motivation was to build a great company that’s owned by the people who work for it.  This employee ownership model is what sets us apart. It’s the bedrock of our culture, and the reason we’ve grown year-on-year since landing our first client back in 1994.

By blending our employee ownership with external capital from aligned investors, we have supercharged our business, allowing us to step into new markets and grasp unique opportunities.

Please read on to discover some of the key moments that have made the Group what it is today.

David Howden


The smallest insurance company in the world

We begin our story in a rented one-room office staffed by three young brokers and a dog named Flight. David Howden wins over our first clients with a letter that reads, ‘Unencumbered as we are with any other clients, I feel we are ideally placed to provide you with truly exceptional service.’



Our first acquisition

Our small company makes its first acquisition – Spear Gulland. We now have just over 20 employees.



Introducing DUAL

Howden establish DUAL in an office in Madrid, with the goal of becoming the world’s best underwriting business.



¡Hola Howden!

We open our first of what will be many international broking operations, in Spain. With just 10 employees, Howden Iberia brings Howden’s total staff count to 60.



Crossing oceans

We reach new continents with the foundation of Howden India and DUAL Australia. We also surpass 230 employees – a nice way to mark our 10th anniversary.

We didn’t sit waiting in London for clients to come to us, we went to them because we realised we’d do better for them if we were on the ground
David Howden
Times article


Dubai calling

Setting our sights on expanding in the Middle East, we open an office in Dubai.



Expanding in Asia

Howden acquires Singapore-based Accette Insurance Brokers, Asia’s largest independent retail insurance broker, with offices around the continent.



Putting communities first

The Howden Foundation is established, which to this day has donated millions of pounds to charitable partners in 38 countries. We also land in Latin America, with offices in Colombia and Brazil.

Read about the Howden Foundation



Bringing local experts together

We launch the Howden One Network, which today gives you access to over 25,000 professionals in more than 100 territories.

Learn more about the Howden One Network



Our Silver Jubilee

We celebrated Howden Group's 25th anniversary with the Million for a Million campaign - our biggest charity event to date. Over 12 months, our people organised bake sales, bike rides, quiz nights, hikes, and concerts. Sold crafts, hosted raffles, climbed mountains and shaved their heads. Together we raised over $1,500,000 - smashing our original target of $1 million.

The money was shared between 4 charity partners and 33 local charities.



Hitting £1bn revenue

After years of putting people first and nurturing our company culture, we pass £1 billion in revenue* and are present in 40 countries.

*pro forma for acquisitions



Welcome A-Plan, Aston Lark and Align

A-Plan, Aston Lark and Align join to the Howden family, creating a full-service broker unrivalled in its quality, scale and reach in the UK.



On to the next phase

We acquire TigerRisk (now Howden Tiger) – completing the architecture of the group – and rebrand under a unified Howden name. With almost 15,000 employees, we’re now ready for the next phase of our growth.

Find out more about our culture

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