Going Public: BRP CEO Baldwin On the Company’s IPO, What’s Next

By | November 18, 2019

Florida-based broker Baldwin Risk Partners (BRP) has come a long way since it was formed less than 10 years ago. The company has grown exponentially both through acquisitions and expansion and it is now beginning a new chapter of its story – as a public company.

On Oct. 24, BRP’s leadership team rang the Nasdaq opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange for BRP’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) with more than 100 members of the company in attendance.

For CEO Trevor Baldwin, that experience was a celebration of the company’s culture.

“It was an incredible milestone in our journey and we’re so excited and thrilled that we were able to share that moment with so many of our colleagues,” Baldwin told Insurance Journal. “It’s an incredible accomplishment and each and every one of them made it possible.”

BRP, based in Tampa, Fla., was founded in 2011 and now boasts more than 40 offices in four states and 466 employees, which the company refers to as “colleagues.”

“That’s a cultural nuance for us. We think of it as working with people, not for people,” he said.

BRP colleagues celebrated with parties at offices across the firm and each one is now a company shareholder.

“We granted equity to all of our colleagues so that they’re coming along on this journey with us,” Baldwin said.

BRP offers insurance and risk management products to 400,000 clients across the U.S. and internationally and specializes in offering middle-market products, including personal and commercial insurance, employee benefits for mid-to-large-sized businesses, as well as insurance for high net worth individuals.

In 2018, BRP was ranked the 43rd largest privately-held independent insurance agency in the U.S. by Insurance Journal. It moved up to number 33 on Insurance Journal’s Top 100 list in 2019. Its total property/casualty insurance revenue in 2018 was more than $62 million, with nearly $463 million in total premiums written. The company reported 5% premium growth in 2018.

Baldwin discussed what the IPO means for the company and its future in this interview with Insurance Journal.

Insurance Journal: Why did BRP decide to do an IPO and go public?

Baldwin: We’re really excited about it being just a watershed moment for the industry. This decision came down to our desire to build a forever business. One that’s going to be here for generations to come. I had historically gotten questions of “Hey are you building this to sell to private equity?” And that’s not at all what we’re doing. We’re building a business that’s focused on having a platform to enable insurance entrepreneurs to serve their clients at a really high level. This event, the IPO, gives us the capital structure, the capital, to really execute on building America’s next great national insurance brokerage and consulting platform.

IJ: What is going to change about the company now that you’ve gone public?

Baldwin: It’s easier to say first what’s not going to change, which is we’re going to be focused on serving our five organizational stakeholders at a really high level. That’s our clients, our colleagues, the insurance company partners we trade with, the communities we live and work in, and now our public shareholders. We’re a stakeholder first organization. The lens through which we make decisions is based on what’s going to serve our stakeholders the very best.

IJ: What does this mean for your customers?

Baldwin: For our clients what this means is, we are now one of the most well-capitalized insurance brokerage firms in the industry, giving us the resources and capabilities to ensure that we continue to stay on the vanguard of delivering the very best insight and solutions to our clients.

IJ: Does it mean anything in particular in terms of new coverages, new lines of business?

Baldwin: Through our MGA Of The Future platform, we’re truly innovating the industry by bringing proprietary insurance solutions to the market, so that’s absolutely going to be the case. Going forward we’ll continue to identify opportunities to develop new insurance products and solutions that we can bring to the market on behalf of our clients who fill their needs and ensure that they’re getting the very best potential solution they could.

IJ: Why do you think that more independent agencies or brokers should go public?

Baldwin: I don’t think many of them thought it was even a possibility. I think we’re opening up a lot of eyes of what’s possible. That has really been our story since the very beginning in 2011 is dreaming about what’s possible, but not yet done, and making it a reality. That is what we plan to continue to do.

IJ: What challenges is BRP anticipating now that the company is public and how are you preparing for those?

Baldwin: The challenges are no different than they were the day before we were public. We still have to innovate our value propositions, make sure we’re staying on the vanguard of bringing the leading solutions to our clients and making sure that we continue to craft and cultivate our culture to reinforce our status as a true destination employer for the industry’s very best and brightest talent.

IJ: Will you be opening any more offices or acquiring more firms? Are you looking to hire more people?

Baldwin: Absolutely. I believe we have over 50 open positions today and we plan to continue rapidly growing and expanding our business and look forward to partnering, which is our nomenclature per acquisition, with some of the country’s very best, brightest and most accomplished in terms of entrepreneurs so that they can come alongside us on our journey to achieving top 10 in 10 (becoming a top 10 broker in 10 years).

IJ: What is the new technology platform BRP is launching and what is the goal of that new platform?

Baldwin: We have our MGA Of The Future platform and that fully automates insurance company functionality on an end to end basis. As an example, in our renter’s platform, we’ve automated everything from data intake, policy underwriting, policy issuance, to policy billing, endorsement processing, and underwriting, which is a huge efficiency advantage over the industry incumbents. We’re also going to be launching our guided initiative, which is focused on really blending the best of what technology can do to enhance the insurance purchasing experience while also ensuring that our clients have access to the trusted advice and counsel of an insurance professional. Still keeping that relationship bias with the clients that we’re interacting with.

IJ: What do you think the impact of technology will be on the insurance industry in the coming years?

Baldwin: Technology is absolutely going to change our industry. It’s going to have a massive impact over the next 10 years, and we’re excited about it. We’re embracing that change. We’re making investments for the future and we’re going to make sure that technology enables what we do and how we do it on behalf of our clients at every step of the way … We are a firm believer that while technology is going to have a massive impact on this industry, this is a people business today and will remain a people business tomorrow. Technology will simply enable and influence how we interact with and provide and deliver solutions to our clients. I don’t want to discount it. Technology’s incredibly important, impactful, but it’s still a people business.

IJ: Is there anything else that you think would be important for the industry to know about BRP’s IPO?

Baldwin: We’re extremely excited to continue innovating the industry with our holistic approach to delivering insurance and bites and solutions to our clients so that they can have the peace of mind to pursue their purpose, their passion, and their dreams. That is ultimately what we’re in this business for. We’re excited to bring the market a true alternative for insurance entrepreneurs and welcome the opportunity to bring additional talented colleagues and firms into the BRP family companies.

The BRP stock is trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol BRP. The initial stock was sold at $14 a share and closed at $16.06 on Nov. 5, 2019.

Listen to the full interview:

About Amy O'Connor

O'Connor is the Southeast editor for Insurance Journal and associate editor of MyNewMarkets.com. More from Amy O'Connor

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