How a 'fiercely independent' brokerage is fueling growth amid consolidation

There are two keys to its success

How a 'fiercely independent' brokerage is fueling growth amid consolidation

Insurance News

By Gia Snape

For insurance brokerages that are choosing to stay independent amid the accelerated pace of consolidation in the industry, finding ways to grow and remain a distinct presence in the market can be a formidable undertaking.

One independent broker credits its success to an intentional investment in talent and culture development, which has helped it achieve double-digit growth.

CCIG, a Colorado-based property and casualty insurance and risk management provider, recently added 40 individuals to its ranks, including senior leaders and experienced professionals in sales, insurance, claims and employee benefits.

Billing itself as “a fiercely independent, rapidly growing” brokerage, CCIG serves clients nationwide from its offices in Denver and Austin, Texas.

Attracting top talent as an independent brokerage

CCIG’s ability to attract new talent is proof that this people-oriented growth strategy works, according to CCIG president Andrew Mahoney (pictured top).

“The 20% growth that we’ve noted over the last couple of years, the higher retention rate of our talent pool, and then the new talent that’s coming into CCIG is all evidence of the fact that we’re doing those things successfully,” Mahoney said.

CCIG intends to leverage this employee growth to broaden opportunities and add support for new and existing clients, including 500 new clients that the brokerage attracted in 2022.

“With accelerating mergers and acquisitions activity in the insurance space, top talent gets lost in the shuffle, and this ultimately impacts clients,” said JB Richardson, chief operating officer at CCIG.

“We’re playing offense by making a vigorous and concerted effort to bring first-rate talent to CCIG.” 

Mahoney said that CCIG plans to deepen its focus on developing its existing talent and creating a strong culture that’s focused on what it calls RISE: relationships, innovation, strategy, and excellence.

“We’re able to be creative, ask a lot of questions, and be very curious to understand what the clients want, and we also do that on the employee engagement side as well,” he said.

Homing in on the middle market

Apart from its talent focus, specializing in the middle market segment and developing different industry verticals have also helped propel CCIG to success.

But it wasn’t too long ago that CCIG was a small generalist agency operating in Englewood, Colorado.

“CCIG started as a family-owned operation,” said Mahoney, who joined the brokerage in 2014. “My parents founded the firm in 1985, and they continued to grow the firm and move it up-market through 2004 while maintaining a personal touch and small business-level of attention and care.”

In 2004, Mahoney’s father and CCIG CEO Brook decided to scale the firm and invest in the risk management side of the business.

CCIG bolstered its sales and service teams, established an in-house loss control team and an in-house claims advocate that would work for clients and help them navigate tough claims, according to Mahoney.

“In 2008, we really started to scale upward into the middle market and larger account space,” Mahoney continued. “I worked for a national brokerage in Chicago for about eight years and then moved back.

“When I joined the firm, we were just starting to scale, and having those investments and resources in-house was critical to us being able to play in that middle market space.”

‘Capabilities of a national broker, with local support’

As CCIG grew, it found that the middle market was an underserved sector that could benefit from their capabilities and expertise.

“We found that a lot of the large, conglomerate brokers were spending time on national and global accounts, and the middle market businesses were underserved in that regard,” said Mahoney.

“We have all the same resources as a global broker, but we’re bringing that to the middle market space at a very intimate level because that’s where we can drive the most change and the most value.

“Most middle market brokers don’t have safety professionals in-house. They don’t have the modeling accessible to make sound business decisions. So, we’re able to bring that as a resource to those middle market companies and allow them to make better educated decisions around their risk.”

Staying in the ‘sweet spot’

Having established its own formula for success, CCIG isn’t under pressure to sell to a larger firm at this point, Mahoney said.

“I have not heard of a firm that can deliver the culture or the capabilities, the service, the technical experience or the specialization at the level we have,” he told Insurance Business.

“Right now, we’re in a sweet spot, where we’re having a lot of fun and scaling our business. We don’t need a partner to help accelerate growth.

“For us, it’s more about culture and delivering a family that people can come and do great work [for], and be excited about what they do, then go home and have a wonderful work-life balance.”

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