Thought Leadership

Acquisitions for Agency Owners: Remember How Much Your People Matter When an Acquirer Comes Knocking

July 2, 2024 | Mergers & Acquisitions Team | Acquisition

People are the number one factor we consider in any acquisition, followed by company culture and financials. That’s why fostering mental wellness in the workplace is a top priority for Brown & Brown. We believe that prioritizing our teammates’ total health and well-being results in healthy teammates who can better support their families, communities and customers, which is instrumental in our continued success as a company.

Last month’s initiatives for Mental Health Awareness Month saw our team participate in guided walking meditations, host an interactive event on the power of good sleep with Dr. Angela Holliday-Bell and more. These activities were a way for our team to recognize the challenges faced by the more than 1 in 5 U.S. adults living with mental illness and an essential reminder that people matter—in life, in work and in acquisition.

If a potential buyer is more interested in who they can do without vs. having an interest in understanding your team’s strengths, it should serve as a major red flag. Run for the hills if you find yourself across the table from a buyer focused on cost synergies and reducing staff.

Insurance is a relationship business

People are the most valuable resource within an agency—their industry experience, knowledge of the business and relationships with customers and carriers should be respected. Our teammates interact with our customers regularly, and these interactions play a significant part in keeping a business successful.

Here are three key ways you can prioritize your teammates as you embark on the acquisition process:

Long-term vs. short-term thinking

Making teammate cuts is often the result of short-term thinking.

Find a buyer who understands the importance of hiring and retaining talented teammates. When teammates are no longer needed in their existing roles after an acquisition, the business must ask how it can best use their talents across the organization.

Trust with carriers and customers goes a long way

After every acquisition comes change, including the possibility that your agency will be renamed or relocated. Suppose personnel changes are also added to the mix. In that case, the customer must accept a rename or relocation change while enduring a more significant blow: “Sorry, you’re not working with Sally anymore because she’s gone.”

What will the customer think?

Connections are often what retain customers through an acquisition. When a customer has a history of working with the same person who’s always taken care of their business, and that person reassures them that the new changes are positive, they’ll likely stay. If that trusted contact is gone, they are less likely to stick around because they have lost that connection.

Happy, healthy teammates produce the best results

A team that believes an acquisition is a positive opportunity for them is a team that will deliver for their customers, carriers and new acquirers.

When screening potential buyers of your business, ask these questions:

    • Do you have long-term tenure with your teammates?
    • What support have you provided teammates regarding their total health and well-being, brain health, diversity and inclusion, wealth enhancement and other benefits?
    • Can you describe your company culture and share how important culture is in your business?

Actions matter

Every leader says they care about their people, but not everyone puts their money where their mouth is. Look for a buyer who doesn’t objectify people to get the best results. Look for one that displays positive intent and demonstrates the ways they help their people stay healthy and advance in their careers. These actions may not always align with the company’s best short-term results, but they often yield sustainable gains that bolster success for the long term.


Interested in speaking with our Acquisitions team?
Email [email protected] or contact us directly below. 

Vaughn Stoll
Senior Vice President & Director of Acquisitions
[email protected]  |  (386) 239-8899
Mark Prampero
Regional Director of Acquisitions
[email protected]  |  (386)  239-7292


Acquisitions for Agency Owners
by Vaughn Stoll, SVP & Director of Acquisitions

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