The insurance brokerage and financial services distribution company Alliant Resources Group Inc. announced its acquisition of San Diego-based Robert F. Driver Co. Inc., one of the largest independent insurance brokerage firms on the West Coast.
Driver Chairman and CEO Tom Corbett told IJ that the deal was a win-win situation for both companies. “We’ve been talking with Alliant for nine or 10 months,” Corbett said. “We’ve been approached by a lot of acquisition partners, but I want to stress, we’ve never approached any of them.” Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Corbett said Driver can now be “the anchor store in the mall” for Alliant.
Considered among the top 35 brokerages nationally based on revenue volume, Driver, founded in 1925, had revenues of $56 million for the year 2000 and manages in excess of $500 million in insurance premiums. Driver maintains offices in San Diego, Newport Beach, Carlsbad, Escondido, Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield, San Francisco, San Rafael and Ontario, Calif. As part of Alliant, Driver will be responsible for brokerage operations in California, Oregon and Washington, and will also serve as Alliant’s national platform for managing general agency and program business.
Alliant is an integrated national distributor of insurance and financial services products, reaching a broad base of middle-market clients through a network of subsidiaries, affiliated companies and strategic partners. According to Alliant, Driver’s strengths in property/casualty insurance, public entity business, workers’ compensation, employee benefits and surety coverage will augment Alliant’s full-service offerings.
“Their strategies were very much aligned with our strategies,” said John Addeo, co-founder and CEO of Alliant. “Our goal is to expand Driver’s revenues two to three times what they are now over the next three years.”
Anchored by Driver in the Pacific region, Alliant is aggressively pursuing additional acquisitions and strategic partnerships throughout the country. “Our strategy is to seek out leading insurance distribution firms in each region of the country which possess an outstanding management team, a very strong infrastructure, a commitment to cross-selling and a dedication to customer service,” Addeo said.
Founded by Addeo, William Robinson, and equity partner GTCR Golder Rauner, Alliant was incorporated in Delaware in November 1999. The company began operations in March 2000 when it acquired Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based Mutual Inc. and Norwalk, Conn.-based Oldham Resource Group Inc., which provide financial services to 403(b) participants. Strong sales management as well as cross selling of insurance products are key components of Alliant’s marketing strategy.
Corbett will join Alliant’s board of directors and continue as CEO of Driver, supported by his current senior management officers, Jerry Hall, COO, and Greg Zimmer, CFO. All three will become members of Alliant’s operating committee, responsible for day-to-day operating decisions on a company-wide basis.
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