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Top insurance brokers, No. 6: Brown & Brown Inc.


2016 brokerage revenue: $1.76 billion

Percentage increase (decrease): 6.4%

Brown & Brown Inc. continues to grow via small acquisitions and organic growth as it braces for changes in the political environment, such as the possible replacement of Obamacare and pending tax reform from of a new presidential administration.

“The components of our growth over the past year was a combination of organic growth, driven by new business and expansion of the relationship with our customers, as well as acquisitions over the past 12 months,” said Andy Watts, the Daytona Beach, Florida-based company’s executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer.

The firm reported $1.76 billion in total brokerage revenue for 2016, a 6.4% increase over 2015 figures, making it No. 6 in Business Insurance’s 2017 ranking of the world’s largest brokers.

For 2016, Brown & Brown also reported a 3% increase in organic revenue, with strong performance in each of the four segments of business: Its retail operations grew total revenue by 5.4%, with organic revenue growing 1.9%; the national programs segment reported total revenue growth of 4.6% and organic revenue growth of 4.2%; the wholesale brokerage segment grew total revenue by 12% and had the strongest organic growth of the four segments with 4.3%, despite downward premium pricing pressure in the coastal property market; and the services segment grew total revenue by 7.6% and organic revenue by 3.8%.

The first quarter of 2017 continued that upward trend, reporting 3.5% organic growth, according to company figures.

Elyse Greenspan, New Yorkbased director at Wells Fargo Securities L.L.C., said it’s clear acquisitions and investing in the company are a focus for the company.

“They have been investing on the technological side … They are choosing to invest in the company,” she said

Mr. Watts said his firm is “looking to invest in all four of our divisions — investing in teammates, technology — to help further our business, or acquiring organizations that would give us new capabilities, geographic expansion or deepen relationships with carrier partners.”

Also, Mr. Watts reported eight small acquisitions in 2016; the new business added $58 million in aggregated annual revenue, according to the firm’s annual report.

Political changes could affect Brown & Brown further into 2017, especially on the benefits brokerage side of its business, he said.

“One of the areas that may be potentially impacted is the repeal and replace of Obamacare,” he said. “If there is modification, we will wait and see. Changes create uncertainty and opportunity.”

Ms. Greenspan said corporate tax reform — another key focus in President Donald Trump’s campaign besides health care — could further affect the broker, which only does business in the United States.

“If tax rates go down, they benefit,” she said. “(Their) stock did well after the election (as they are a) primary beneficiary of U.S. corporate tax reform.”




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