Today's Viewpoint: A MarshBerry Publication

When determining your firm’s destiny, sometimes it is the fear of the unknown that can prevent an owner with making difficult decisions.

Insurance agencies and brokers make the decision to partner with strategic buyers for a number of reasons. For instance, many MarshBerry sell side clients have chosen to partner with firms that have a national footprint that can provide access to a broader array of resources that they can in turn provide to their clientele. Some have sold because they grew the firm, and its value, so quickly that a standard internal perpetuation plan wasn’t plausible. Others didn’t have a tangible perpetuation plan in place and were forced into a decision. In the current market, many are pushing hard to the finish line in an attempt to capture today’s current tax rates. Whatever the reason a firm has to sell, the first step in the process is understanding what a client is looking for in a partner.

Over the last 40 years, MarshBerry has built a process that’s tailored to understanding what a client is looking to achieve from a partnership. With the broadest buyer spread of any advisor in the marketplace, MarshBerry’s goal is to find a good fit both financially and culturally for firms. Over the last four years, MarshBerry has transacted with over 50 different buyers in the marketplace. Clients are provided a clear framework for the deal process that includes detailed intelligence on buyers that match their needs and facilitated meetings, so both the buyer and the seller understand what a partnership would look like.

However, for firms who are looking to carve their own path, other options such as raising capital or combining with other firms to create a large platform broker are exciting ways to stay competitive in the marketplace. For instance, over the last four years, MarshBerry was the investment banking and consulting firm that helped form three platform brokerages: Alera Group, Inc. (24 firms in 2017), Patriot Growth Insurance Services (17 firms in 2019), and Oakbridge Insurance Agency (4 firms in 2021).

In each of these formations, the conversations began with more firms participating than those choosing not to join. On average, 42.3% of firms in the original discussions backed out midway through the process. In the majority of conversations as to why, there was almost always a fear of the unknown that kept firms from moving forward. However, the remaining 57.7% have benefitted from taking a leap. On average, all three have tripled in size. Both Alera Group, Inc. and Patriot Growth Insurance Services immediately joined the top 100 largest brokers of U.S. business (according to Business Insurance) and it’s projected that Oakbridge Insurance Agency will join them soon.

The options available to agents and brokers who want to have control over their own destiny are greater than ever. Will fear of change stop you in your tracks or will you leverage the opportunities to take your firm to the next level?

If you have questions about Today’s ViewPoint or would like to learn more about recent M&A activity, please email or call Phil Trem, President – Financial Advisory, at 440.392.6547.Subscribe to MarshBerry’s Today’s ViewPoint blog for the latest news and updates and follow us on social media.  

MarshBerry continues to be the #1 sell side advisor in the industry (as ranked by S&P Global). If you’re considering selling your firm, we are the best choice to help you through the complicated process. If you don’t hire MarshBerry, hire a reputable advisor that can help you navigate one of the most important business decisions you will ever make. You will be much better off having an advisor in your corner that knows the industry than trying to do this on your own.