Growth Q&A: Ancora’s Insurance Agency Acquisition


Brian Spear, Managing Director, Employee Benefits
John Bartels, President, Family Wealth

Following Ancora’s recent acquisition of an independent property and casualty (P&C) and health benefits agency, we asked Brian Spear, John Bartels and Andrew Page to discuss the strategic rationale for the deal and the benefit it brings to clients of both firms.

Q: Brian, please briefly walk us through what Ancora’s newly-acquired insurance group does day in and day out for clients?

A: As a full-service insurance brokerage firm, we place and service policies for individuals and families as well as businesses of all sizes. Our approach involves identifying the best coverage solutions, making coverage changes as needed, providing claims assistance and educating our clients on their policies. We often educate our clients on the importance of certain coverages that might be overlooked. In our experience, those coverages are an important tool to protect businesses, attract and retain employees, protect property and mitigate personal liability, among other risks.

Q: Brian, what types of insurance do you place and with what carriers?

A: As an independent agency, we are able to place policies with most of the major carriers in the business. On the employee benefits side, the typical group plans we place are Health, Dental, Vision and Group Life/Disability insurance. The ability to work with essentially any carrier allows us to find the best fit for our clients from a large list of providers, as not every carrier’s solution will be right for every business.

On our property and casualty side, policies we frequently place for individuals and families include home (primary and secondary residences) and auto, as well as umbrella insurance. For commercial or business clients, we often place property, liability and cyber liability policies among others. Like our employee benefits team, we work through the same lens of seeking the best fit for our clients, reviewing a range of variables to land on the most well-suited protection and give our clients peace of mind.

Q: Brian, what is one piece of advice you would give to families or business owners when shopping for P&C insurance?

A: Placing P&C insurance can be complicated as everyone’s situation is unique and there are many variables at play. The more conversations we can have with our clients about their concerns or risks, as well as being provided with details about their current coverages, the better the solution we can land on for them. We value the trust and communication we have from our clients, which allows us to better understand their risks and more accurately place the coverages they need.

Q: John, Ancora has been placing life insurance for clients for a while, how does adding property and casualty insurance and health benefits help Ancora better serve its clients and expand its value proposition?

A: We have been helping clients evaluate and place life and long-term care policies for over seven years now. We not only help clients evaluate their current policies, but we also can help clients secure new policies to transfer wealth more efficiently, hedge against estate taxes and protect income for their families. In this light, our wealth planning group can now help our clients review the protection side of their balance sheet.

For example, when working with our wealth planning group, we can now provide an even more complete approach to protecting assets from risk with this additional expertise. A potential blind spot we have found among many clients, for example, is that as their net worth has grown, they did not know to update their umbrella protections to reduce risk and protect their growing assets. Umbrella policies tend to be very affordable and almost a no-brainer in this litigious society we live in today.

Lastly, we now are able to help our business owner clients review their total benefits solution that they offer to their employees. Our Retirement Plans team already serves over 150 plans and 14,000 participants. Now, we can round out our services and build a single service model for employee benefits, both health insurance and retirement plans, managed by a single trusted relationship and partner. That is a powerful model for business owners who already have a lot on their plates.

Q: Andrew, from your corporate development vantage point, have you seen many Registered Investment Advisers like Ancora enter the property and casualty space, or do you think Ancora is ahead of the curve in this regard?

A: We are starting to see a growing number of RIAs expand into the insurance space, either through M&A or strategic third-party partnerships. Like Ancora, these firms will be early players in enhancing their service models to meet the complex needs of their clients. When combined with traditional wealth management solutions, P&C and employee benefits are integral to creating a comprehensive financial plan. We believe that more and more clients will start looking for, and can benefit from, a single firm that has the capacity and expertise to internally manage their entire financial profile.

Q: If people have any P&C insurance or employee benefits related questions, what would be the best way for them to go about speaking with Ancora?

A: Clients should reach out to their existing team or relationship manager at Ancora. Their relationship manager will ask a few background questions and then connect them with the appropriate insurance team member(s) for their situation. For anyone who is not already a client, you can fill out the contact form on our website. We look forward to hearing from you.

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