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Brown & Brown revamps retail division, Lydecker's duties

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Brown & Brown Inc. is realigning its retail division, moving Charles Lydecker from president of the division to one of six divisional presidents, which an analyst said should improve the division's performance.

The Daytona Beach, Florida-based insurance brokerage said Friday that, effective immediately, it will have six regional presidents that report directly to President and CEO J. Powell Brown.

The move is intended to advance sales “in the face of sustained rate pressure in the property and casualty insurance markets” and will concentrate efforts on “certain focus areas” across all six divisions, the broker said in a statement.

“This is part of our continued evolution as an organization,” Chief Financial Officer R. Andrew Watts said. “It is something Charlie Lydecker had prompted a couple of months ago. He proactively said, 'Hey, I think we need to look differently at how we're doing things.'”

“After lengthy and thoughtful discussions with Charlie Lydecker, we believe this evolution is the best strategy to adapt and change with market conditions,” Mr. Brown said in a statement.

Aside from Mr. Lydecker, five senior vice presidents in the retail division — Richard A. Knudson Jr., Thomas K. Huval, Anthony M. Grippa, Steve Denton and P. Barrett Brown — have been named presidents of regions that Mr. Watts declined to define.

Mr. Lydecker, who will remain in Florida, will retain responsibility for Florida and the West Coast and be active in recruiting; Mr. Kundson will be based in the Northeast; Mr. Grippa will be based in Florida; and Messrs. Barret Brown, Huval and Denton will be based in the Georgia-Louisiana areas, Mr. Watts said.

The move drew positive reaction.

“I like the fact that there's some flexibility and willingness to consider other organizational structures. It's a positive,” said Meyer Shields, managing director at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. in Baltimore.

“Clearly they've been underperforming in the retail segment for a while,” he said. “”It's been positive organic growth, but less than overall premium growth, and in general you should keep up with premium growth.”

He also sees merit in dividing responsibilities geographically.

“We look at the U.S. in its entirety, but you've got different economic prospects and different economic realities in different regions, so it's probably good to have people who are focused on individual region,” Mr. Shields said.

Brown & Brown is the seventh-largest insurance broker in the world and the sixth-largest broker of U.S. business, according to the latest Business Insurance ranking.