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I’m thinking about selling my agency. Is there a buyer?

There are many potential buyers for your firm. Often other agencies in your area are the best candidates since they know the local conditions, may know you and your client base, and can understand the value of your business. These may be private firms or larger public firms. Other buyers include divisions of banks or private-equity backed agencies, a relatively new phenomenon.

Private-equity-backed agencies are responsible for much of the activity in today’s market. Examples of private-equity-backed firms are: Acrisure, Alera and AssuredPartners.

Typically, they are started by individuals with extensive agency experience who negotiate deals with investors, such as hedge funds, to finance the acquisition of independent agencies. Often, they use economies of scale in certain areas of the business to achieve a higher level of profit than the independent agency could have on its own. For example, they may have developed proprietary: technology, marketing/sales models or customer service models that are deployed within each acquired agency. Once acquired, an agency is usually permitted to run independently.

Benefit Specialist Magazine’s June issue, page 15, sidebar: “Insurance Agency Mergers and Acquisitions” provides data on the impressive growth in acquisitions during the 1st quarter of 2017.

Considering selling your agency to a third party or selling/gifting to a family member? Cheryl Kessler, Director, Vantage Point Advisors, delivered an insightful presentation (from both the buyer’s and seller’s perspective) at a recent meeting of the Golden Gate chapter of the Association of Health Underwriters (GGAHU). She would be pleased to discuss valuing your agency and can connect you with firms that can market the sale of your agency confidentially.