Insurance Journal’s Agency Partnership News Wrap-Up

February 4, 2021
Renaissance Alliance Insurance Services Adds 33 Members in 2020

Renaissance Alliance, a network for independent insurance agencies, announced that 2020 represented the largest year of growth in the company’s history. In the midst of the pandemic, Renaissance added 33 new member agencies, bringing the total number of independent agency members in the alliance to 117.

Of this exciting news, Chairman and CEO Kevin Callahan said:

“We’re delighted to begin 2021 by officially welcoming so many new agents to Renaissance,” said Kevin Callahan, chairman and CEO of Renaissance. “2020 was a challenging year for everyone, but our alliance continues to strengthen through the addition of these forward-thinking, growth-minded agencies. We are now rapidly approaching $1 billion in P/C premium.”

New members added in Q4 include:

Connecticut

  • Birarelli Insurance Agency, LLC., Milford, Conn.
  • Brent Young Agency, LLC., Manchester, Conn.
  • George Lundberg Insurance Agency, LLC., Enfield, Conn.
  • Healy-Lynn Insurance Agency, LLC., Naugatuck, Conn.
  • John Bogden Insurance Agency, LLC., Berlin, Conn.
  • Michalowski Agency, LLC., Wallingford, Conn.
  • Remark Insurance, LLC., New Britain, Conn.

Florida

  • Corkhill Insurance Agency, LLC., Orlando, Fla.
  • Insurance Services of Central Florida, Inc., Ocoee, Fla.
  • MHG Insurance Brokers, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Massachusetts

  • Sanviti Insurance Agency, Inc., Everett, Mass.
  • Foundation Insurance Agency, LLC., Fall River, Mass.

New York

  • GSD Insurance Agency, Inc., Nyack, N.Y.

Vermont

  • Hamlin Insurance Agency, Inc., Brattleboro, Vt.

Renaissance Alliance is a membership alliance for fully independent property/casualty agency owners.

Founders of Massachusetts-Based Renaissance Alliance Retire; Callahan, Bondi to Lead

The founders of Renaissance Alliance Insurance Services, a membership alliance independent insurance agencies, have retired after 21 years of leading the company. Bruce and Janet Cochrane retired from their full-time roles within the Massachusetts-based insurance agency partnership organization, effective Jan. 1, 2021.

Kevin R. Callahan, executive chairman, and Robert A. Bondi, president, now lead the executive committee. Bruce Cochrane will remain a member of the Renaissance Alliance Board of Directors and serve as special advisor to Callahan.

Callahan praised the Cochranes for their work with the company and said it would continue its geographic expansion “while enhancing the value that Renaissance provides to our members and carrier partners.”

Bruce and Janet Cochrane started the company in the late 90’s with “the clear goal of empowering independent agents to be the dominant force in the insurance industry long into the future; committed to the best interests of the insuring public,” a statement from the company said.

Renaissance Alliance also focused on developing the insurance aggregator space. Today, Renaissance is approaching $1 billion in premium, Callahan said.

In 2018, Long Arc Capital invested $30 million in Renaissance Alliance and since then the company has entered new markets, enhanced the services it provides to its members, and built a new integrated technology platform.

In 2019, Renaissance Alliance was ranked no. 7 on Insurance Journal’s Agency Partnership list.

Renaissance Alliance offers services to fully independent property casualty agency owners designed to help them grow premium, maximize revenue and increase agency value through profit sharing, override revenue, and offloading non-revenue generating activities.

Brightway Insurance Opens New Agencies

Brightway Insurance opened six new Brightway locations in September in California, Florida and Illinois.

Marcus Barbee opened Brightway, The Barbee Agency in Bloomington, Ill. Barbee recently retired from State Farm, where he worked on the Information Technology team for 18 years. Prior to that, he was a Mail Carrier for the U.S. Postal Service for 8.5 years and served Honorably in the U.S. Army for nearly seven years. Brightway Insurance, The Barbee Agency offers customized home, condo, renters, personal articles, flood, auto, RV, motorcycle, boat, life and umbrella insurance policies from numerous insurance brands including Appalachian Underwriters, Bankers, Bristol West, Foremost, Hagerty, Hippo, Johnson & Johnson, Progressive, Tower Hill and many more. While Calabrese is currently working from home, he will open an office location in the coming months, which will be announced once operational.

Mary Marquez opened Brightway, The Marquez Agency in West Palm Beach, Fla. Marquez comes to Brightway from Burrowes Insurance, where she worked for the past seven years. Before that, she was a customer service representative at State Farm for nearly a year. Marquez speaks fluent English and Spanish. Brightway, The Marquez Agency is located in the Palm Gate Plaza at 3951 North Haverhill Road, Suite 208 in West Palm Beach. The Agency offers customized home, condo, renters, personal articles, flood, auto, RV, motorcycle, boat and umbrella insurance policies from numerous insurance brands including Bankers, Federated National, Foremost, Hagerty, Mercury, Nationwide, Progressive and Safeco and many more.

Patrick Calabrese opened Brightway, The Calabrese Agency in West Palm Beach, Fla. While Calabrese is currently working from home, he will open an office location in the coming months, which will be announced once operational. Calabrese comes to Brightway from State Farm, where he worked for the past three years as an agent. Brightway, The Calabrese Agency offers customized home, condo, renters, personal articles, flood, auto, RV, motorcycle, boat, life and umbrella insurance policies from numerous insurance brands including Bankers, Edison, Foremost, Hagerty, Johnson and Johnson, Nationwide, Progressive, Safeco, Tapco and many more.

Brightway Agency Owner, Clayton Vigrass, has opened Brightway, The Vigrass Family Agency at 600 1st Avenue North, Suite 303A in St. Petersburg. Vigrass comes to Brightway with 22 years’ industry experience. He spent the past 11 years at USI Insurance Services, where he was senior vice president of retail, and he spent 11 years with Willis Towers Watson before going to USI. Vigrass started his professional career with Ernst & Young as a Certified Public Accountant in Tennessee. Brightway, The Vigrass Family Agency offers customized home, condo, renters, personal articles, flood, auto, RV, motorcycle, boat and umbrella insurance policies from numerous insurance brands including Bankers, Cypress, Hagerty, Johnson and Johnson, Nationwide, Progressive and many more.

Brightway Agency Owner, Julie Tilbiyan, opened Brightway, The JT Agency. While Tilbiyan is currently working from home, she will open an office location in the coming months, which will be announced once operational. A native of LA, Tilbiyan comes to Brightway with 12 years’ industry experience. Most recently, she was the vice president of Corporate Sales for a commercial insurance broker for two years. Brightway, The JT Agency offers customized home, condo, renters, personal articles, flood, auto, RV, motorcycle, boat and umbrella insurance policies from numerous insurance brands including Aegis, Bankers, Foremost, Hagerty, Hippo, Johnson and Johnson, Nationwide, Progressive, Tapco and many more.

Jennifer Dittman

Brightway Agency Owner, Jennifer Dittman, has become a multi-unit owner with the national insurance franchise. Dittman is the new owner of Brightway, Lake Mary in Lake Mary, Fla. Dittman opened Brightway, The Dittman Agency in Oldsmar in 2016, and is among the top 25% highest-producing agency owners in the Brightway system.

In December, Brightway announced the opening of five new agencies between Florida, Kentucky and Louisiana.

Cyndiana DeJesus opened Brightway, The DeJesus Legacy Agency in Palm Bay, Fla., on Nov. 16. While DeJesus currently is operating the agency from her home in Palm Bay, she will open an office location nearby in the coming months. The office location will be announced once operational. DeJesus comes to Brightway with 11 years of insurance industry experience. Prior to joining Brightway, she was with State Farm, where she started as a Receptionist and worked her way up to Customer Service Manager then on to Sales. DeJesus speaks fluent English and Spanish. Brightway, The DeJesus Legacy Agency offers customized home, condo, renters, flood, personal articles, auto, RV, motorcycle, boat, life and umbrella insurance policies from numerous insurance brands including Amelia Underwriters, Bankers, Edison, Foremost, Hagerty, Johnson and Johnson, Mercury, Nationwide, Safeco, SageSure and many more.

Jeremee Gant opened Brightway, The Jeremee Gant Agency in Gonzales, La., on Nov. 16. While Gant currently is operating the agency from his home in Gonzales, he will open an office location nearby in the coming months. The office location will be announced once operational.Brightway, The Jeremee Gant Agency, offers home, condo, renters, flood, personal articles, auto, RV, motorcycle, boat, life and umbrella insurance policies from numerous insurance brands including: Progressive, Safeco, National General, La Citizens, Wright Flood, Foremost, Hagerty, SageSure, American Modern and many more.

Ronda Curtis opened Brightway, The Clayton-Noll Agency in Union, Ky. on Nov. 16. While Curtis is currently operating the agency from her home in Union, she will open an office location nearby in the coming months. The office location will be announced once operational. Curtis’ Agency is the only Brightway location currently serving consumers in the state. Born and raised in Kentucky, Curtis comes to Brightway from State Farm where she was an agent team member. Brightway, The Clayton-Noll Agency offers home, condo, renters, flood, personal articles, auto, RV< motorcycle, boat, life and umbrella insurance policies from numerous insurance brands including Appalachian Underwriters, Bankers, Foremost, Hagerty, Hippo, Johnson and Johnson, Progressive, Nationwide, Stillwater and more.

Andrew and Leah Haines opened Brightway, The Haines Family Agency in Celebration, Fla. on Nov. 16. The husband-and-wife team are currently operating the agency from their home and will open an office location in Central Florida in the coming months. The office location will be announced once operational. The Haines come to Brightway with four decades of combined experience in owning and operating sports leagues and teams, as well as their own marketing company. Brightway, The Haines Family Agency offers customized home, condo, renters, flood, personal articles, auto, condo, RV, motorcycle, boat, life and umbrella insurance policies from numerous insurance brands including American Integrity, Bankers, Foremost, Hagerty, Johnson and Johnson, Nationwide, Progressive, Stillwater, Tapco and Wright Flood.

Todd Robicheaux opened Brightway, The Todd Robicheaux Agency in Covington, La. Robicheaux owned an Allstate Agency for 26 years before opening his Brightway Agency. He brings 30 years of industry experience to the new Agency. Brightway, The Todd Robicheaux Agency offers home, condo, renters, personal articles, flood, auto, RV, motorcycle, boat, umbrella, and life insurance policies from insurance carriers including Acadian Managers, American Strategic, Bankers, Bristol West, Foremost, Hagerty, Johnson and Johnson, Lighthouse, Mercury, Progressive, Safeco, SageSure, Tapco and more.

Brightway Insurance is a national property/casualty insurance distribution company with more than $710 million in annualized written premium. Brightway got its start in 2008 and has since grown to more than 900 people in 242 offices across 22 states serving customers in all 50 states.

Full Circle Insurance Group Joins Midwest Insurance Agency Alliance

Full Circle Insurance Group in Omaha, Neb., has joined Midwest Insurance Agency Alliance Inc. (MIAA), a network of insurance agencies across Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.

A full-service insurance agency, Full Circle Insurance Group serves the needs of families and businesses throughout the state, including Omaha, Lincoln and Papillion. Owned by Curt Neujahr, the agency offers home and renters insurance, auto, life and financial products, business insurance and group benefits.

Founded in 2001, MIAA is a wholly owned subsidiary of SIAA (Strategic Insurance Agency Alliance) and one of its 48 regional master agencies.

84 Agencies Join Smart Choice in November

Smart Choice signed 84 new agency partners in November, marking a continued trend of over 80 new agencies a month, and continuing the company’s growth. After partnering with over 350 new agencies in the first quarter of 2020, and reaching a milestone of 8,000 total agency partners early in the year, Smart Choice continues to exceed growth expectations heading into 2021.

The company has more than doubled its number of partner agencies in the last five years, and serves more than 20% of all the independent agencies nationwide. Smart Choice said it expected 24% gross revenue growth, and over 1200 new agency partners for 2020.

The company worked to be a resource to agencies during the global Covid-19 pandemic, offering dedicated resources of staff, and online centers for assistance in navigating communications from carrier partners. In addition, Smart Choice recently launched the Agency Business Center for its partner agencies, which provides increased access to more robust reporting, marketing resources, market search tools, and more.

Smart Choice offers a range of products and services to its partner agencies, including access to personal, commercial and life markets, in addition to business builder and business saver products. Currently serving over 8,600 agents in 45 states, Smart Choice has agreements with more than 100 nationwide and local carriers. Smart Choice agency partners write more than $8 billion in premium annually.

The Smart Choice Agents Program is a wholly-owned program of Worldwide Insurance Network, Inc. (WIN), headquartered in High Point, North Carolina.

Topics Mergers

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.