Business Moves

May 3, 2021

National

Appalachian Underwriters, Ethos

Appalachian Underwriters Inc. has partnered with life insurance provider Ethos to offer the coverage via the fintech’s online platform. Agents can now quote customers’ life insurance without medical exams, which have been replaced by a few health questions through the Ethos system.

Agents can offer both a level term life insurance (with up to 30-year terms and $1 million in face amount) in all states but New York, as well as Simplified Issue Term, Simplified Issue Whole, and Guaranteed Issue Whole Life options.

After underwriting, which is often instant or the same day, the applicant will get a decision. If approved, insureds can choose to activate their coverage without agent involvement.

AUI is a full-service MGA and wholesale insurance brokerage working with independent agents. Ethos is a fintech providing life insurance policies by quantifying the user’s health risk using predictive models instead of requiring people to go through the process of paper applications and medical exams.


East

World Insurance Associates, C. Walter Searle Insurance Agency

World Insurance Associates LLC has acquired C. Walter Searle Insurance Agency LLC of Nutley, New Jersey.

Since its founding in 1926, C. Walter Searle has been serving the insurance needs of individuals, families and businesses in New Jersey. It provides insurance for lines of business including personal auto and home, commercial business, liabil-ity, workers’ comp and auto, as well as life and health.

WIA is headquartered in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, and is a full-service insurance brokerage providing asset and lifestyle protection with risk management, insurance and benefit consulting services for individuals and businesses.

Since its founding in 2012, WIA has completed 98 acquisitions and serves its customers from 99 offices in 23 states and Washington, DC.

Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla provided legal counsel to WIA.

Gaccione & Pomaco provided legal counsel to C. Walter Searle.

No other advisors, diligence firms or legal counsel were disclosed.

Hub International, Incentive Systems, Davis Trachtenberg

Hub International Limited has acquired the assets of Incentive Systems Inc.

Located in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, ISI provides employee benefit solutions, helping clients maximize the value of the health, life disability and voluntary programs.

ISI President Michael Jacobson will be joining Hub Northeast following the acquisition.

In a separate transaction, Hub has also acquired the assets of Davis Trachtenberg Inc. (DTI)

Located in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, DTI is a full-service insurance agency providing clients with commercial and personal insurance.

DTI Principal Robert Davis will join Hub Northeast.

Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Hub International Limited is a full-service global insurance broker providing risk management, insurance, employee benefits, retirement and wealth management products and services. It aims to grow organically and through acquisitions to expand its geographic footprint and strengthen industry and product expertise.


Midwest

Towerstone, Jacobs & Associates

Towerstone, a Dallas-based wholesale insurance division of IMA Financial Group, acquired Jacobs & Associates, a general agent and excess and surplus lines broker based in Strongsville, Ohio.

The partnership opens new markets for Towerstone and Jacobs, while also creating new offerings for the companies’ retail broker partners and specialty risk clients.

Jacobs & Associates will join the IMA Financial Group and will retain its name. Its six team members will continue to operate out of the company’s office in Strongsville.

The acquisition is IMA Financial Group’s tenth in the past 12 months and serves as a springboard for Towerstone’s growth within Texas and beyond, the company’s announcement said.

Towerstone has specialized in wholesale insurance products and services for the oil and gas industry for three decades, and serves additional industry verticals, as well.

Hilb Group, Star Insurance Agency

The Hilb Group LLC has acquired Indiana-based Star Insurance Agency.

Star Insurance Agency is a full-service agency providing fast, caring service to clients throughout the region.

Star Insurance Agency has both personal and commercial insurance offerings, including both property/casualty and employee benefits.

As a part of the transaction, Leslee Robinson, Billy Davenport and the Star Insurance team will join THG of Indiana.

THG is a property/casualty and employee benefits insurance brokerage and advisory firm headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.


South Central

Bernhard Capital, Gray Casualty & Surety

A group of investors led by Bernhard Capital Partners Management LP, a services and infrastructure-focused private equity management firm, has entered into an agreement to make a significant investment in Metairie, Louisiana-based The Gray Casualty & Surety Co., a surety market affiliate of The Gray Insurance Co.

Gray Surety, established 2003, provides surety bonds to emerging and mid-market contractors. Gray Surety partners with professional bond agents to provide responsible surety bond options across the country.

The Gray Surety team also underwrites commercial bonds related to licenses, permits, and other regulatory requirements.

Current management will continue to operate Gray Surety.

Gray Surety has offices in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arizona.

Founded in 1977, The Gray Insurance Co. is a family owned, relationship-based, and service-focused insurance company admitted in 50 states.

The company is headquartered in southeast Louisiana and focuses on the energy, industrial and construction industries with an emphasis on the Gulf Coast and the southeastern United States.

Higginbotham, First Louisiana Insurance

Fort Worth, Texas-based Higginbotham has partnered with First Louisiana Insurance, an independent agency located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to establish its second office in that state.

First Louisiana Insurance provides commercial and personal insurance services in the Gulf Coast region.

The agency opened in 1980 and serves clients ranging from individuals and families to small local businesses and large companies with multiple locations.

Its nine insurance professionals provide property, casualty and liability coverage and employee benefits.

Higginbotham named First Louisiana Insurance founder and President Jack Harless a managing director, and he will continue leading First Louisiana Insurance along with executive vice president Kase Gonzales.

Higginbotham entered Louisiana in January 2021, partnering with an agency in Bossier City, La.

First Louisiana Insurance builds on the combined firm’s ability to serve the market and sets a path for further growth in the state, Higginbotham said.

Higginbotham now has more than 45 offices in 10 states serving domestic and international customers.


Southeast

The Hilb Group, McCartha, Cobb & Associates

The Hilb Group LLC has acquired South Carolina-based McCartha, Cobb & Associates Inc.

McCartha, Cobb & Associates is an insurance agency, specializing in contract and commercial surety bonds to the construction industry.

As part of the transition, Wayne McCartha, Ray Cobb, and Kathryn McCartha-Powers will join the THG Southeast region office in Columbia, South Carolina.

According to Wayne McCartha, partnering with THG will enable the company to operate across a broader platform and expand its surety services.

Ricky Spiro, THG CEO, said the firm will help strengthen the company’s construction and surety bonds practice in the Southeast.

THG is a property and casualty and employee benefits insurance brokerage and advisory firm headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. It is a portfolio company of The Carlyle Group, a global investment firm.

World Insurance, LB Insurance, John Roberts Agency

World Insurance Associates LLC has acquired Lawrence & Brownlee Insurance Agency and John Roberts Insurance Agency (JRIA), both of Anderson, South Carolina.

LB Insurance was established in 1912 and later incorporated in 1926 by W.H. Lawrence and R.F. Brownlee.

David H. Fant joined the firm after graduating from college and was offered a partnership in 1995. He has been the sole owner since 2001.

The company strives to invest in the local community and support local businesses, non-profits and local and international missions.

LB Insurance’s focus is on commercial lines accounts and personal lines accounts.

John Roberts Insurance Agency was founded in 2002 by John Roberts. The goal of the agency is to offer options to clients and to write commercial insurance.

WIA is headquartered in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, and is a full-service insurance organization providing individuals and businesses with products and services across personal and commercial insurance lines, employee benefits, retirement and financial services and human capital management solutions.

Since its founding in 2012, WIA has completed 98 acquisitions and serves its customers from more than 138 offices in the U.S.


West

Hub, Wyoming Financial Insurance

Hub International Limited has acquired the assets of Wyoming Financial Insurance.

Art Hansen, president of Wyoming Financial; Mike Kretzer, CFO; and Bob Moberly, CEO, will not be joining HUB.

The rest of the Wyoming Financial team will join Hub Mountain.

WYFI provides commercial insurance, personal lines and high net worth solutions, employee benefits and surety bonds.

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