Brown & Riding: Everything you need to know
Headquarters: Los Angeles, California
Brown & Riding offices across the United States: 17
Number of employees: 200+
Leadership: Chris Brown, chairman; Jeff Rodriguez, president and CEO
Brown & Riding is one of the top 10 wholesale brokerages (based on premium) in the US. It is also 100% owned by its employees. In fact, it’s been employee-owned and managed since the company’s inception in 1980.
Brown & Riding has offerings for amusement parks, construction, cyber, energy, transportation and more, and was built on the core values of teamwork, quality and professionalism. It does business in all 50 states, as well as Canada.
Brown & Riding in the news
2016: Brown & Riding is named a Top E&S Wholesale Broker by Insurance Business
2010: The wholesale brokerage merges with Seattle-based Alexander Morford & Woo (AMW)
2012: Brown & Riding merges with Chicago-based Travis-Pedersen & Associates
2018: Brown & Riding welcomes new environmental specialty broker
2019: Brown & Riding is named Five-Star Wholesale Partner by Insurance Business
Key people as of 2019
Chris Brown – Chairman
Chris Brown got into Brown & Riding Insurance Services on the ground floor. The now-chairman of the national wholesale brokerage had been working as an assistant underwriter for one year in Los Angeles when the opportunity to join Brown & Riding arose. At that time, in 1985, there were less than 10 employees at the brokerage. Brown’s job was to act as the representative for Southern California to get the word out about the new player in the challenging wholesale market and generate some business.
“I was the new person in town, and it taught me about the importance of differentiation and doing something different than everybody else,” said Brown. “I think it’s one of the core themes that have driven me throughout my career.”
Brown had a lot of autonomy in the role and proved his worth with early successes in growing the business. In 1990, Brown became president of the company and, in 2012, he took on his current role as chairman.
In addition to Brown & Riding’s emphasis on the values of quality and professionalism, the brokerage also remains extremely focused on teamwork.
“I’ve always been a big believer in the power of people working together and cooperation within the wholesale brokerage business. Teamwork can be a pretty unusual thing, even today, so we set our company up to support teamwork in ways that probably most others haven’t done,” explained Brown.
The foundation of teamwork is the company’s ownership structure. It’s 100% owned by key employees, similar to a partnership. Today, there are 34 shareholders in the company. That shared interest in the success of the company goes a long way to help support Brown & Riding’s value of teamwork, according to Brown. Meanwhile, leadership encourages employees to embrace specialization, a core strategy of the business, which is also supported and incentivized by its ownership structure.
Brown deeply values the role teamwork plays at Brown & Riding. “I’m thankful for the opportunity I was given and feel very fortunate to work with so many incredibly talented people at B&R,” said Brown. “They embrace working together across offices and teams, and it helps everyone achieve more than we could on our own. I am proud of our people, and they are all responsible for our success.”