Share
September 12, 2018 2:00 PM, EDT

Acquisitions Mark Trend of Truck Insurance Agency Consolidation

Trucks on highway John Sommers II for Transport Topics

AssuredPartners Inc., a Lake Mary, Fla.-based insurance brokerage firm, said it acquired the Roemer Insurance Agency and its affiliate Sunforest Transportation Insurance Group, both based in Toledo, Ohio.

Terms were not disclosed, but the deal highlights an ongoing trend of independent insurance agencies getting snapped up by larger firms.

AssuredPartners has completed more than 200 acquisitions since 2011, including four transactions involving truck insurance agencies this year.

In May, AssuredPartners acquired the Peoples Insurance Agency in Waverly, Iowa.

With the purchase of Roemer, AssuredPartners picks up a company that traces its history to the beginning of commercial trucking in the United States. Wellington Roemer started the business in 1934 and the Roemer family has maintained a focus on selling insurance to motor carriers throughout the years while also branching into other lines of coverage.

The Roemer agency is currently generating annual revenue of $4 million and will continue to operate under the direction of President and CEO Rocky Roemer and Chief Operating Officer Michael Lawrence, along with Dennis Schwartz, president of Sunforest, a company that helps retail insurance agents access truck insurance coverages.

Rocky Roemer

Rocky Roemer

“It’s a rare company that can prosper for over 80 years,” Rocky Roemer said in a statement announcing the sale of the firm on Sept. 10. “Not too many firms are successful for three generations.”

Kevin Rettberg, the head of AsssuredPartners Transportation, said the consolidation trend is driven by the need of independent insurance agencies to offer a broader range of coverages as trucking firms expand into warehousing and logistics.

“We have the ability to bring in experts who can talk about coverage for independent contractors, for example, or help with assessing financial risk, succession planning or driver hiring,” Rettberg said in an interview with Transport Topics. “Our vision is to provide not only more coverage, but [risk management] solutions as well.”

AssuredPartners is not alone in pursuing a consolidation strategy.

Kevin Rettberg

Rettberg

Chicago-based Hub International has completed five acquisitions this year, including Access Insurance and Kindersley Insurance Ltd. in Canada, Easy Truck Insurance Services in Vacaville, Calif., Saffe Insurance in Houston and Susoreny & Associates in Crown Point, Ind.

Several more deals are “in the pipeline,” said Mike Birge, president of Hub Transportation, in an interview with Transport Topics.

“Being part of a larger organization means more market access and more services,” Birge said in explaining the company’s value proposition. “We can provide a transportation network where expertise can be shared.”

Birge noted that both Hub and AssuredPartners are owned by private equity investment firms that are financing the buying spree.

Hub is a portfolio company of San Francisco-based Hellman & Friedman and AssuredPartners is owned by Apax Partners.

Mike Birge

Birge

Another active player in the truck insurance market is Hilb Group in Richmond, Va.

The company has acquired 29 insurance agencies since it was formed in 2009, including most recently Southern Maryland Insurance Inc. in Bowie, Md., in July, BAR Insurance Brokerage in Needham, Mass., in June and Bentson Insurance Group in New York and New Jersey in May.

Hilb is a portfolio company of the Boston-based private equity firm ABRY Partners.

ABRY Partners also has provided financial backing for NSM Insurance Group.

AssuredPartners Acquisitions by Transport Topics on Scribd

Based in Conshohocken, Pa., NSM has completed more than 18 transactions over the past 12 years and was recently acquired by White Mountains Insurance Group in Bermuda.

In February, NSM acquired TranSpec, a transportation insurance broker based in Nashville, Tenn., that specializes in programs for trucking firms that utilize owner-operators.

Despite the high level of acquisition activity, Hub’s Birge said he believes there’s plenty of opportunity to make more deals.

“There are still a lot of small agencies in the market,” Birge said. “Midsize guys like Roemer are highly attractive, but I see it continuing.”