Business Moves

January 8, 2018

Cook Maran & Associates, McDermott & Thomas Associates

Cook Maran & Associates has acquired McDermott & Thomas Associates LLC (M&T).

Cook Maran is a New York and New Jersey insurance broker, and the New York metropolitan area platform for Prime Risk Partners (PRP).

M&T is a Staten Island, N.Y.-based agency specializing in employee benefits. Its partners offer more than seven decades of experience advising businesses on customized insurance solutions for human resources.

Following this transaction, M&T employees will continue to work from the agency’s Staten Island location and do business as McDermott & Thomas, joining Cook Maran’s six offices and 250 professionals across New York and New Jersey. In merging with Cook Maran, M&T also broadens the offering of PRP.

Cook Maran Chairman and CEO Len Scioscia noted that the M&T partnership strengthens Cook Maran’s portfolio in a critical area during a time when many employers grapple with rising premiums and face uncertainty in the national health insurance market.

For M&T, building a competitive benefits package that fits the realities of the agency’s bottom line and explaining the plan to employees has been its mission for the past three decades.

By merging with Cook Maran, M&T’s founders see new opportunities to pursue their mission while offering clients the same personal service from familiar faces.

Hub International, Contractor’s Services, Surety Services

Global insurance brokerage Hub International Ltd. (Hub) has acquired the assets of Contractor’s Services Inc. (CSI) and Surety Services LLC (SS). Terms of the acquisitions were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Timonium, Md., CSI and SS service the construction industry by providing bid, performance, supply and payment surety bonds. Both agencies also offer several specialty programs designed for wind and solar, large residential and commercial, and U.S. State Department and government and international construction.

CSI President Len Callahan said that this move will enhance CSI’s ability to protect clients against the financial impact related to general, commercial, professional, automotive and site-specific claims.

SS President Steve Johnson aid that by joining Hub, SS can offer clients insurance solutions to grow and protect their businesses, such as reducing their workers’ compensation and employee benefits costs.

Johnson, Callahan and CSI Vice President Jim Jones will join Hub Mid-Atlantic and report to Norman Breitenbach, president of Hub Mid-Atlantic, following the acquisition.

Risk Strategies Company, Delmarva Surety

Risk Strategies Company has acquired Delmarva Surety in a move that extends its Mid-Atlantic footprint while adding specialized contract surety expertise. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Risk Strategies is a privately held, national insurance brokerage and risk management firm. Formally established in 2010, the Risk Strategies construction group is staffed with veterans of both the insurance and construction industries. With a client base ranging from ENR 400 firms to specialty artisan shops, its expertise spans all aspects of construction risk and liability, from financing and the design process to pre-construction, construction and property sales.

Established in 1995 and headquartered in Hunt Valley, Md., Delmarva specializes in the sale and servicing of surety bonds and commercial insurance. The company has more than 450 clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic and eastern U.S., including Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Surety bonds, such as payment or performance bonds, serve as a type of guarantee, ensuring obligations of the bonded entity will ultimately be fulfilled. Delmarva’s surety and insurance programs serve all areas of the construction industry.

Delmarva Surety President Thomas Whipple has more than 30 years of industry experience, including just more than two decades with Delmarva. His sons, Brian Whipple and John Whipple, are vice presidents, heading commercial lines and surety.

The addition of Delmarva is expected to bolster Risk Strategies Company’s specialty knowledge for its practice and its clients.

Distinguished LLC, American Hole ‘n One

Distinguished LLC has acquired American Hole ‘n One (AHNO).

Distinguished is a New York-based group of entrepreneurial businesses serving the insurance industry. AHNO is a global hole-in-one and event promotions company.

In tandem with the AHNO acquisition, Distinguished LLC will also acquire AHNO’s sister company, Worldwide Hole ‘n One Ltd., based in the U.K.

American Hole ‘n One has a team that offers 30 years of industry expertise, said Distinguished CEO Jeremy Hitzig.

Hitzig added that by adding process improvements, additional marketing, IT, sales experience and Distinguished’s management expertise, Distinguished hopes to continue to build on AHNO’s success and grow the business substantially.

According to company estimates, a small percentage of the estimated 350,000 annual golf tournaments in the U.S. currently use promotional prizes. AHNO represents a majority of that existing market.

Mark Kissick has been tasked with expanding that market share as AHNO’s new president. Kissick most recently served as president of York Programs and senior vice president at York Risk Services Group. He brings nearly 30 years of industry experience to his new role, focusing on the financial results, segment growth, marketing strategy, business development and client satisfaction for AHNO.

Prior to his role at York, Kissick held management and executive positions with a national underwriter and financial services company, and two of its subsidiaries.

Mick Luckhurst, a former place-kicker for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons from 1981 until 1988, launched AHNO’s U.K. operations, Worldwide, in 1995, and expanded AHNO to operate in all 50 U.S. states. He will now serve as chairman.

In addition to serving on the Distinguished Programs board of advisors, Luckhurst will serve on the executive committee of AHNO and help the team build its strategy, expand relationships and find new opportunities to grow the business.

The Hilb Group, Insurance Trustees

Hilb Group LLC (THG) announced the acquisition of Insurance Trustees Inc. in Garrett, Ind.

Founded more than 100 years ago, Insurance Trustees offers a wide range of property/casualty and employee benefits insurance products and services for businesses and individuals in the Indiana region.

Mike Shuherk, managing partner of Insurance Trustees, and his associates will continue to operate out of their office in Garrett under their existing name.

The Hilb Group, headquartered in Richmond, Va., is a portfolio company of Boston-based private equity firm Abry Partners. The company now has 60 offices in 18 states.

Alera Group, Hallberg Commercial Insurers

Deerfield, Ill.-based employee benefits, property/casualty, risk management and wealth management firm, Alera Group, has acquired Hallberg Commercial Insurers Inc. in Oakbrook, Ill.

Hallberg Commercial provides employee benefits, risk management and insurance services to clients in the Chicagoland area. It provides coverage for businesses, organizations and clients throughout the Midwest.

Hallberg Commercial will join Alera Group through local firm GCG Financial.

Alera Group also announced the completion of two new acquisitions, effective Dec. 1: Armstrong/Robitaille/Riegle Business and Insurance Solutions in Irvine, Calif.; and the employee benefits division of Walker Higgins Associates in Spartanburg, S.C.

Alera Group acquired a total of 15 new firms in six states in 2017.

Truman Taylor Insurance, Galveston Insurance Associates

Texas state Sen. Larry Taylor, president of Truman Taylor Insurance in Friendswood, has closed his agency after 55 years of operation and joined Galveston Insurance Associates (GIA), effective Dec. 15.

GIA has been operating on Galveston Island for 125 years and has had an office in Friendswood since 2010. Sen. Taylor and his two employees will join GIA’s staff of 38 in the GIA Friendswood location.

Founded in 1892, Galveston Insurance Associates (GIA) is Galveston County’s oldest insurance agency. GIA is a full-service insurance agency specializing in commercial, personal, and life and health insurance. As a locally owned and operated independent agency, GIA represents many top-rated insurance companies and is one of the largest independent agency writers of windstorm and flood insurance in Texas.

Casey, Brightway

Ashley Casey, owner of Brightway, The Casey Agency in St. Augustine, Fla., has opened a new Brightway store in Palm Coast, Fla., making him the latest multiunit owner with Brightway Insurance.

The new agency, located at 55 Plaza Drive, Suite 5, in St. Augustine, has been rebranded to Brightway, The Casey Agency.

According to Brightway President, Talman Howard, Casey is among the top 10 percent most successful store owners at Brightway based on sales. Casey’s first agency in St. Augustine opened in May 2008. He is one of nine Brightway multiunit owners.

Brightway, The Casey Agency, offers customized home, condo, renters, auto, flood, recreational vehicle (RV) motorcycle, boat, all-terrain vehicle (ATV), umbrella and business policies from numerous insurance brands, including American Colonial, Bankers, Nationwide, Progressive, Safeco and Travelers.

Brightway Insurance is a national property/casualty insurance retailer selling through a network of franchised independent stores throughout the country.

Brightway began franchising operations in 2008 and has since grown to more than 700 people in 19 states, serving customers in all 50 states.

Hanson Insurance, Corvallis, Stineff

Oregon-based Hanson Insurance Group of Corvallis has acquired and will be merging Corvallis Insurance Services and Stineff Insurance Services of Monmouth, Ore., into the Hanson Insurance Group name.

Both independent agencies serve clients in the Mid-Willamette Valley.

Hanson Insurance Group provides service to customers in 32 states.