Brown & Brown (B&B) is looking for repeat insurance clients. The independent insurance agency and brokerage firm provides property/casualty, life, and health insurance, and risk management services through its retail division, mainly to commercial clients. Its national programs division designs customized programs for such niche clients as dentists, lawyers, optometrists, and towing operators. Its wholesale brokerage unit distributes excess and surplus commercial insurance through independent agents. B&B also offers reinsurance through its Axiom Re subsidiary. Its services segment provides self-insured and third-party administrator services. B&B has 200 offices in some 40 states and one office in London.
The company's largest market is Florida, where it operates almost 40 agency or brokerage locations. The firm also has significant operations in New Jersey, New York, Texas, and California, where around 25% of its offices are located. Although B&B made its first foray into an overseas market in 2008 when it formed London-based wholesale brokerage firm Decus Insurance Brokers to serve the UK market, the US still accounts for nearly all of its revenues.
B&B has a long-term growth strategy that is focused on acquisitions -- it has acquired the assets or operations of more than 365 firms since 1993. Acquisitions target a range of growth areas including retail and wholesale brokerage and employee benefit plan development. The company acquired 43 companies in 2008, but it only purchased 11 agencies in 2009 as the market softened due to tough economic conditions. As the economy recovered, B&B picked up its acquisition pace and by early 2011 it had bought up close to 35 smaller firms.
The company prefers to acquire agencies whose principal executives intend to stay after the sale, and whose corporate cultures are a good fit. Following its acquisitions, B&B tends to leave things in place, but lifts some administrative duties off of an agency, freeing up its agents to sell more.
In early 2012 B&B completed a larger-than-usual acquisition when it purchased Arrowhead General Insurance Agency for some $395 million from a group of private equity investors including Spectrum Equity Investors, as well as members of Arrowhead's management. Arrowhead, which offers property/casualty, professional liability, and niche industry coverage, continues to operate as an independent subsidiary under B&B's national programs division.
Chairman J. Hyatt Brown and family own 15% of the company. J. Hyatt Brown stepped down as CEO in 2009 and was replaced in that role by his son J. Powell Brown. – less