The recent acquisition of Roseland, N.J.-based insurance wholesaler Crump Group by BB&T Corp., a major regional bank and insurance broker based in Winston-Salem, N.C., created one of the largest providers of wholesale commercial insurance brokerage and specialty programs in the country.
While the $570 million cash deal closed last week, the merging of BB&T’s wholesale insurance operations, which include property/casualty broker CRC Insurance Services, managing general agent Southern Cross, TAPCO Underwriters and managing general underwriter AmRisc LLP, will move forward slowly, says one executive.
“Nothing is going to happen tomorrow,” said Tom Curtin, CEO, co-chairman and founder of CRC Insurance.
Curtin said several offices of both Crump and CRC will combine in time, but each consolidation will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
“We are going to go very slow,” he said. “We believe that Crump has a very good business model and we believe in CRC’s business model, and so we are going to take the best of CRC and the best of Crump and create the best of the best.”
CRC will stay branded as CRC. Southern Cross and Tapco will also keep their names. However, Crump P&C will now be named CRC Crump.
Curtin says the message to agents and employees is that it’s business as usual.
“We will not be competing with Crump. We will be cross clearing names and accounts within the organization. So Crump won’t compete with CRC and CRC will not compete with Crump because we are all part of the same family now.”
Curtin says while Crump has had several owners in the past — including Sedgwick, Marsh, Tri-City Brokerage, BISYS Group, and J.C. Flowers & Co. — BB&T will be a long term owner.
“We are telling all the Crump folks, welcome home. This is where you are going to be from now on,” he says.
“We’ve got a great partner in the bank,” Curtin says. “It’s one of the largest financial services company in America. It’s very conservatively run and so we are going to look forward to them having a home here at CRC for a long time.”
In the combined CRC/Crump Brokerage operation, Curtin will continue his role as CEO and co-chairman and Ron Helveston will serve as president.
John Howard and Dave Obenauer will join the BB&T organization from Crump and have the responsibility for the BB&T wholesale distribution channel, which includes wholesale P/C, life and other specialties.
In the combined Southern Cross/Crump Programs operation, Preston Gough will continue in his role as president.
Curtin anticipates more growth to come for CRC thanks to a firmer insurance market.
“In 2012, we are seeing a move to more conservative underwriting, higher pricing, and the carriers are not offering high limits at low dollars anymore,” Curtin said. As a result, “our sales for the first quarter were up rather significantly,” he said.
He also sees growth through more acquisitions.
“CRC is a buyer and so is BB&T,” Curtin said. “We will continue to grow our business both organically and by acquisition, and if there is one out there that makes good sense and is a good fit geographically or by product line, certainly, we are a buyer,” Curtin said.
CRC and Crump P&C combined will operate 55 offices nationwide with 1,700 employees and will write more than $3.5 billion in property and casualty premium.