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Virtus LLC, a private equity, family-backed property/casualty and employee benefits brokerage, has hired a team of senior executives from rival private equity-backed brokerage Alera Group Inc. in a move expanding its private equity practice to Chicago.
Managing partners Mike Kesner and John Eichmann, and principals Eric Banduch and Joey Eichmann, will enhance the firm’s expertise and market reach, Kansas City-based Virtus said in a statement released Thursday.
The senior hires will bring “additional horsepower to our high growth trajectory,” Andrew Gray, CEO of Virtus LLC, said in a statement.
Virtus has also acquired teams in Kansas City and Fort Collins in 2019, according to the statement.
With this deal, Virtus now has about 55 staff, Mr. Gray said.
“Virtus provides an opportunity for high caliber producers to join a platform that fills the green space left by the large insurance roll-ups across the industry,” Mr. Kesner said in the statement.
Virtus is backed by Agman, a multistrategy investment firm based in Chicago and Omaha that is owned by the Silverman family. Agman also backs workers compensation insurer Omaha National Insurance Co.
“We are focused on building a long-term business and attracting talent in near-verticals. Because the valuations of these businesses are so high right now driven by all the acquisition activity, we’ve made a practice to go source the best talent and bring them onto our platform,” Mr. Gray said.
Virtus is focused on recruiting individuals and teams with specialty expertise “who want to be part of something over a longer time horizon, and still want to be entrepreneurial,” he said.
The firm is also looking to make acquisitions in the specialty space, such as construction or health care, he said.
“We’re not going to buy a generalist broker in Chicago, we’ll go find a broker that specializes,” he said.
Formed in January 2014, Virtus currently has four practice groups focused on private equity, real estate, financial services and medical benefits, he said.
Alera Group Inc. on Tuesday said it has acquired Orion Risk Management Insurance Services Inc., a Newport Beach, California-based brokerage.