Insurers and Insurance and Insurance Brokers and Health Care & Life Sciences and Health Care & Insurance

Shepherd Insurance agency goes on buying spree

January 21, 2013

Carmel-based Shepherd Insurance & Financial Services acquired three separate companies in a flurry of activity at the end of the year.

The insurance agency will now write $225 million in annual premiums, compared with less than $183 million before the deals. And the acquisitions will add 17 people to Shepherd’s staff, bringing it to a total of 110 at five offices around the state.

Quinn Shepherd, chief marketing officer of Shepherd Insurance, said the acquisitions will help the 35-year-old agency shift toward providing more consulting-type services as opposed to the transaction-heavy work that insurance agents have traditionally performed.

“I want to change the lansdscape of the insurance industry,” Shepherd said.

The biggest deal came on Dec. 31 when Shepherd agreed to acquire AscendUSA, an Indianapolis-based health benefits brokerage. By itself, Ascend brought $35 million in premiums from its employer clients.

“The combined strength of AscendUSA and Shepherd Insurance positions us to maximize our value proposition, which in turn allows us to best protect and advance our clients’ welfare interests well into the future,” said Ascend partners Joe Guzman and Steve Goodin, in a prepared statement. “This is especially critical given the significant employee benefit challenges that employers face to ensure that they are properly informed and adequately prepared for Health Care Reform.”

Shepherd also acquired Evansville-based Insuring Resources LLC, a one-man agency focused on employer health benefits and Fishers-based Chappell Insurance Agency, a three-person property & casualty agency.

In September, Shepherd also brought on Tom and Jeff Johnson, who specialize in insurance for auto racing teams.

Shepherd did not disclose a purchase for any of its acquisitions. Shepherd is the 10th-largest in the Indianapolis area, according to IBJ statistics, and would remain so even after these acquisitions. The agency was founded in 1977 by Dave Shepherd, who won Indiana's Mr. Basketball award in 1970 while at Carmel High School.

There was a push by many insurance brokers and agents to make deals before Jan. 1, when capital gains taxes and top-bracket incomes taxes were set to rise. Florida-based AssuredPartners Inc. acquired two Indiana insurance agencies—Indianapolis-based Tobias Insurance Group Inc. and the Rushville-based Schroeder Agency, which focuses on property and casualty insurance.

Tobias will continue to operate under its own name, but Schroeder will be operated under AssuredPartners’ subsidiary, NeaceLukens, which now operates seven locations in Indiana. Sometime in the next year, the Schroeder agency will adopt the Neace Lukens name.

“We look forward to joining the rapid growth taking place at Neace Lukens and AssuredPartners and accessing its strong financial footing for the benefit of our customers,” said agency chief Ed Schroeder, in a prepared statement.
 

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