World Insurance Associates LLC (WIA), a Tinton Falls, N.J.-based, full-service insurance brokerage, has signed an agreement to receive a majority investment from funds affiliated with Charlesbank Capital Partners, a middle-market private equity firm based in Boston and New York. The WIA management team and employee shareholders will remain major shareholders alongside Charlesbank.
This move continues to build on the large role private equity played in insurance agency and brokerage mergers and acquisitions in 2019, with experts stating as many as two-thirds of all deals last year involved private equity, Insurance Journal previously reported.
According to a WIA press release, this growth investment from Charlesbank will enable WIA to accelerate its expansion program. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020 subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“With the benefit of Charlesbank’s extensive financial and operational resources, we are well-positioned to build on World’s foundation and to continue to grow organically and through targeted M&A,” WIA CEO Rich Eknoian said in the release. “This investment will enable World to create new opportunities for our employees, further enhance services for our customers, and expand relationships with our carrier partners.”
Founded in 2012, WIA offers comprehensive insurance coverage, risk management strategies and benefits consulting services for businesses and individuals. The company focuses on property and casualty lines and has built centers of excellence in specialized industries such as transportation, hospitality, self-storage facilities, non-profits and construction.
WIA has flown mostly under the radar as it executes its continued growth strategy. Insurance Journal reported in December that the broker acquired New York’s J & S Risk Planning Group, marking WIA’s 15th acquisition in 2019 and 50th since 2012. WIA currently operates 40 offices in 11 states and has grown through a combination of organic growth and agency acquisitions, according to a company press release, with 53 acquisitions completed to date.
“We are excited to be the company’s first private equity sponsor and look forward to supporting Rich and the team in World’s next phase of growth,” Charlesbank CEO and Managing Director Michael Choe said in the release.
Piper Sandler & Co. and Macquarie Capital (USA) Inc. served as financial advisors to WIA, and Evercore served as financial advisor to Charlesbank. Paul Hastings LLP provided legal counsel to WIA, and Goodwin Procter LLP provided legal counsel to Charlesbank. Macquarie Capital Principal Finance and Madison Capital Funding will provide debt financing for the transaction.
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