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The story of Marcotte Insurance

When it comes to planning growth projections for a company, many focus on adding more customers or team members to increase earnings and streamline services. What’s often forgotten is the immense benefit of acquisition. While it may seem more cost efficient to expand organically, the long term financial gain of acquiring a sister company should outpace the growth of internal development.

Economists and financial gurus refer to this as industry consolidation. The term sounds impressive, but the process and theory are much simpler. The goal is to increase earnings and drive down costs for the buying company, while also creating a competitive market. That sounds counter intuitive, but stick with me for a bit.

There are several fields that practice industry consolidation, most notably the arenas of printing, dentistry and insurance. Let’s focus on insurance for the moment, and consider Marcotte Insurance, an Omaha-based powerhouse since 1927. With a myriad of products available and a heavy presence in the local marketplace, it may seem unnecessary for a company of Marcotte’s size to consider acquiring much smaller entities. But, that is exactly what they are doing.

Many smaller insurance companies are moving away from health policies, mostly due to the restrictions and general uncertainties around the Affordable Care Act. Property and casualty policies are becoming the bread and butter for these businesses, but most fall under the umbrella of captive providers. An Allstate agent can only offer Allstate policies, and is therefore limited when it comes to premiums and pricing. Marcotte, who works in the non-captive sector, is an insurance brokerage representing policies from many major providers, and as such can offer reduced premiums and substantially more affordable prices.

 

"Many smaller insurance companies are moving away from health policies, mostly due to the restrictions and general uncertainties around the Affordable Care Act."

 

So, you may be asking how this benefits Marcotte since everything seems stacked in the customer’s favor. With offices in Omaha and Kearney, Marcotte is well-known in both cities. The miles in between offer up many untapped clients. The policy holders in these areas are more likely to be buying insurance from captive entities or buying policies with much steeper premiums from non-captive agencies. Customers, due to the lack of options, are essentially in a market desert. Marcotte’s goal is to purchase the independent agencies, and with their buying power reduce premiums while gaining a whole new client base. Policyholders keep more money in their pockets, and Marcotte expands its books and income. The marketplace becomes more stabilized and captive agencies are forced to compete.

However, not just any independent agency is a target. As with any good plan, there are parameters to determine the ideal candidates:

 

  • $400,000 to $4,000,000 in revenue
  • Staff of 5 to 15 employees
  • 2 to 3 years of owner transition
  • Located along the I-80 corridor from Omaha to Kearney

 

These resume requirements are the stepping stones to acquisition. It may seem easier to simply lease a small office space and set up shop, but buying an existing agency is an immediate opportunity to reach customers. There is also the added benefit of skilled and trained employees in place, removing the hassle of having to staff an entirely new outfit. As with any endeavor, the weighing of pros and cons should come into play, but often acquisition will prove the more worthwhile approach to financial gain.

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