Burns & Wilcox MD reveals company’s number one asset

Wholesale brokerage is looking to make the most of the ‘flat’ world

Burns & Wilcox MD reveals company’s number one asset

Insurance News

By Bethan Moorcraft

What’s the number one asset of a brokerage giant like Burns & Wilcox? You’ll be glad to know that it’s the people.

Speaking at the Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association (WSIA) 2017 Annual Marketplace in San Diego, Daniel Kaufman, senior vice president at H W Kaufman Financial Group and managing director of Burns & Wilcox, explained the key elements of Burns & Wilcox’s success.

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“The market hasn’t been great for some time. It has been fairly depressed as rates continue to go down,” Kaufman told Insurance Business. “We’re going to have to wait to see what happens to rates because of the recent storms. Only time can tell.

“But overall for us, regardless of what happens to rates, business is going well. We continue to write more policies year over year and take more market share, which is great.”

Developing a company like Burns & Wilcox requires strategy and careful planning. When it comes to mergers, acquisitions and talent scouting, the first deal is not always the best deal, according to Kaufman.

“We invest heavily in people, which is our number one asset,” he said. “Our motto has always been to invest in people and companies that fit with our organization on a cultural level. We have made good deals and we have walked away from a lot of deals. On top of that, we’re also growing organically, which is important.

“At Burns & Wilcox, we have invested heavily in specialization – product areas like construction and healthcare, which are booming right now. We’re partnering up with strong retailers who are consolidating, which is helping with our market share in those areas.”

Providing expertise in specialized areas is the definition of “value” as a wholesaler, according to Kaufman. In the evolving insurance world, the wholesale market can stay relevant by providing great value to both the market and the retailer, he added.  

Burns & Wilcox is a well-known name in North America. Successful business has spurred the company on to expanding its global presence and Burns & Wilcox Canada has five offices that mirror its US operation. In the past five years, the company has also acquired two Lloyd’s of London brokerages and an MGU in London. 

“The world is becoming flat,” Kaufman commented. “We’ve been investing heavily in North America but we want to be able to write risk all over the world. If an insured has a risk outside of North America, it’s important to have the ability to write that risk for them. We’re always looking [for global opportunities]. We have looked and been close to some deals but have walked away. It’s always on our radars.”

Related stories:
Burns and Wilcox opens new Texas location
Burns and Wilcox on lookout for new talent

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