Carole Nash, one of the insurance industry’s best known entrepreneurs who began selling policies to owners of vintage motorbikes from her living room 20 years ago, is to take tens of millions of pounds into retirement after selling her eponymous company.

Carole Nash Insurance Consultants has grown into one of Britain’s biggest motorcycle insurance intermediaries and a top 30 broker with more than 240,000 policyholders and in excess of £60m in premiums.

The buyer is Groupama UK, a subsidiary of one of France’s biggest insurers.

It said its purchase of Carole Nash Insurance would give “almost unrivalled access to a number of niche markets”.

No details of the deal have been disclosed but it is thought to value Carole Nash Insurance at about £70m.

Ms Nash owns 68 per cent of the business with the remainder held by her children, who are also selling their stakes.

Ms Nash, who turns 65 on Monday, started her business after she was made redundant from a US insurer and offered the chance to take over its small vintage motorcycle business.

A motorbike enthusiast, she was the first female president of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club, whose members were among her first customers.

As well as motorbikes her company is also well-known for classic car insurance and is the largest independent fitter of motorcycle security products. Carole Nash Insurance employs 350 in the UK and Ireland and made pre-tax profits of £2.78m in the year to October 2005 on sales of £25.3m.

Pierre Lefèvre, chairman and chief executive of Groupama UK said: “The business has a very strong brand presence in its chosen areas and we will be supporting the existing management team to maximise the potential of the Carole Nash brand.” Ms Nash, who was advised by Ernst & Young, is to retain an ambassadorial role with the company.

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