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Top insurance brokers, No. 9: Alliant Insurance Services Inc.

Ilene Anders

2022 brokerage revenue: $3.22B
Percent increase: 22.4%

Strong organic growth, acquisitions and active recruitment helped drive a more than 20% increase in revenue at Alliant Insurance Services Inc. in 2022.

The Irvine, California-based brokerage, which first entered the ranking of the world’s Top 10 largest brokers last year, continues to expand its specialty business and seeks additional acquisitions despite rising interest rates.

Alliant reported 13.5% organic growth in 2022. Brokerage revenue increased 22.4% to $3.22 billion, moving it up one spot to No. 9 in the Business Insurance ranking. 

And the company reported a total of 9,858 brokerage employees in 2022, up from 9,194 in 2021. 

“Alliant has consistently been a good performer in the brokerage space, one of our better performers,” said Julie Herman, director in the financing services ratings group for New York-based S&P Global Ratings, a division of S&P Global Inc.

Like other brokers, Alliant benefited from favorable insurance pricing and inflation, she said. 

Alliant’s specialty focus helps it outperform many of its peers, Ms. Herman said. In addition, its strategy of hiring experienced producers with established books of business has spurred growth, she said. 

“They have very strong verticals and strong programs that enable solid new business generation fairly consistently,” Ms. Herman said. 

Alliant focuses on niche expertise and select industries, said Phil Trem, president of the financial advisory division at Woodmere, Ohio-based MarshBerry Inc.

“The one thing that we highlight when we think of Alliant is that they’re very specialized,” he said.

And while Alliant saw strong organic growth last year, it also grew through acquisitions, Mr. Trem said. 

“They are a steady strategic acquirer,” he said. “They do acquire firms fairly consistently.” 

Alliant looks for growth opportunities by expanding internal programs and through acquisitions, said Ilene Anders, Alliant’s chief financial officer. 

“For us, it’s really what makes sense from a specialty perspective and where are the opportunities to build or expand,” she said. 

Alliant completed 14 acquisitions in 2022, Ms. Anders said, including deals in the energy and nonstandard auto insurance sectors. 

“We focused really from a discipline perspective on where there might be companies out there that together we believe can accelerate growth as a result of expanding specialization or geographic footprint,” Ms. Anders said. 

While rising interest rates, which have increased steadily since last year, have affected the mergers and acquisitions market, Alliant remains “very opportunistic” in how it looks at deals and whether they make sense from a strategic standpoint, she said.

Odessa, Texas-based energy insurance brokerage McAnally Wilkins LLC was a “very large acquisition” for Alliant in 2022, Mr. Trem said.

In addition to growing through acquisitions, Alliant for years has actively recruited from its rivals, and the brokerage has been subject to numerous lawsuits alleging new hires breached previous employment agreements. Ms. Anders said she cannot comment on specific lawsuits. 

Ms. Herman said Alliant secures experienced producers with well-established books of business and tries to come to a commercial resolution with the former employer or litigate in situations where that is not possible. 

“Alliant maybe takes a little bit of a different stance,” she said. “That strategy has been successful for them.” 

Ms. Anders said changing market conditions that have led to higher insurance rates have affected Alliant and the industry as a whole, but the brokerage continues to get “clients’ needs served in terms of the coverages, albeit at a higher price.” 

Increasing interest rates have affected some areas of the company’s operations, Ms. Anders said. The brokerage is completing fewer mergers and acquisitions due to the higher interest rate environment, which has increased the cost of capital, she said. 

“Fortunately, we’ve got a lot of other areas of diversification across Alliant that have continued to grow quite well, and so it’s more than making up for the slowdown,” she said. 

Ms. Anders said she expects investment to continue flowing to the brokerage sector, heightening competition and spurring more consolidation. She also expects to see an easing of insurance rates over the next couple of years as conditions around the property market will likely soften.

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