Over three hundred insurance distribution leaders from across the country came together in Cleveland, OH, for executive peer exchange to focus on strategy, benchmarks, and networking at MarshBerry’s Connect Summit. MarshBerry’s Connect has been bringing some of the most aggressively growing agencies and brokerages together for twenty-five years. Over that time, MarshBerry’s challenge for these firm members has been consistent: don’t just survive – but thrive by focusing on several key strategic areas.
MarshBerry’s Chairman and CEO John Wepler delivered his highly coveted State of the Industry where he implored firms to create an unfair competitive advantage for themselves.
THE WORLD IS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS TO CAPITALIZE YOUR GROWTH
- Specialty cash flow lenders are plentiful and “stalking” lead sources to find new deals.
- There is now universal knowledge that lending to insurance brokers is very safe.
- Personal guarantees are generally not required by specialty lenders.
- Debt capital remains abundant even as interest rates have inched up.
- Covenants often limited to maximum leverage and minimum debt service requirements.
- Pricing is much less sensitive to changes in amortization, leverage amount or duration.
FIRMS NEED TO ACT NOW
Wepler encouraged attendees to act now in order to drive growth for their firms. Specifically, he provided action items on how all firms should:
- Advance the ball on sales velocity.
- Stop blaming producers for lack of growth. Roughly 75% of validated producers wrote less than $100,000 in new business in 2021. The message appears to be that producers are not being held accountable.
- Firms need to hire more producers, provide them with mentorship structures and create opportunities for ownership.
- Dedicate resources to specialization and analytics.
CREATE AN UNFAIR COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
Agencies and brokerage are not broadening ownership fast enough. For firms that want to remain independent, they need to change the paradigm to create opportunities for ownership – now. The common question then begs – where do you start?
- Outline personality traits and performance required for ownership.
- Lay out option to purchase in a well-defined document.
- Make the ability to buy happen early in career and over time in small tranches.
- Test willingness to accept and manage perpetuation debt.
- Continual debt service creates steady release of capacity to buy more.
- Teach producers to keep lifestyle costs in balance.
- Create performance review tools to shape leadership characteristics.
More importantly, this should all be part of the bigger picture – how will you grow your firm so that you attract and retain talent that want to be owners of your firm?
Want to continue the conversation or learn more about the MarshBerry’s Connect membership and semiannual summits? Contact Brooke Lugonjic, Vice President of Connect, at Brooke.Lugonjic@MarshBerry.com or 616.828.0741.
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