There is no shortage of deal news involving Gallagher, which has already reported at least 23 acquisitions in the year so far. Following the broking group’s purchase of Virginia-based The Andersen Group (Andersen), Insurance Business caught up with Bumpy Triche, president, Mid-South at Gallagher, to find out how the insurance giant looks at deals on a regional level.
Gallagher announced the purchase of retail insurance agency Andersen earlier this month and, according to Triche, the business and its owner, Frank Andersen, had been on the acquirer’s radar for years.
“It all started with a breakfast with Frank to flesh out how he handles business and what his core values are,” said Triche. “Then we were curious about what was the future for the group and what qualities would make a natural fit for a partnership with a company like Gallagher.”
From there, productive conversations and mutual agreements eventually led to the solidification of the acquisition.
Triche and the team at Gallagher were particularly fond of Andersen’s highly specific book of business and its operational tenets, which Triche said dovetailed nicely with Gallagher’s pre-existing book in the region.
“Frank and his team have established a solid business presence in governmental contracting, local engineering, nonprofit — all things that we're in,” Triche said. “We’re looking to grow into a hybrid complementary.”
While adding a solid pipeline of deals can offer a boost for the top line of any acquirer, the regional broking leader set out that acquisitions should not just be about accelerating growth and that there is a critical human aspect to transactions.
“We’re not trying to acquire or aggregate only revenue,” Triche said. “We want to be very mindful of how a company reflects our corporate culture and how will they fit into our plans for the future.”
Amidst a looming talent shortage in the industry, Triche noted how it is especially important to work alongside a group of professionals who are interested in growing their business and applying their craft on a bigger platform, which Gallagher offers.
Mergers have been a big part of the Gallagher appetite for decades, giving the company the opportunity to continually expand its reach and amass a more diverse and resilient workforce.
“We’ll never have too many smart or resourceful people,” Triche said, emphasizing the range of thought and expertise that comes with acquisitions. “Frank’s got an underwriting and very technical background, has longevity with his clients, which demonstrates a real commitment to applying his tradecraft at a very high level.”
When completing a merger or acquisition, the established client experience must remain unaffected, according to Triche.
“We have to be very mindful of the relationships and trust that was initially built between the company we are acquiring and their roster of clients,” he said.
Making sure that post-transaction matters do not cause the core business values to drastically alter under a new partnership can be vital.
“With the size and the scale that we are as an organization, there are a lot of things that we've been able to build in terms of tools, resources, talent, that we hopefully can bring to the new merger partner expeditiously,” Triche said.
“It’s not about overhauling a business but refining and expanding their capabilities for the betterment of the policyholders. At the end of the day, it’s all about the people.”
While not being able to divulge any specific business details about future transactions, Triche noted how, on a local level, Gallagher’s acquisitive streak is far from waning.
“We’ll always be looking for any potential fits, but it must be deliberate and feel like a natural business endeavour for both Gallagher and the other business,” he said.