Gallagher buys two more brokers to increase size

December 8, 2008
It's two down and four to go for Dane Hudson as he continues an acquisition binge aimed at making Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. a stronger health benefits broker.

When Hudson sold his Carmel firm, Strategic Health Plans, to the Chicago-area giant last year, he was charged with sweeping in as many as six more firms within five years.

Strategic Health Plans bought Fishers-based Benefit Partners Inc. Sept. 1 and Indianapolis-based EBS Insurance Group Nov. 1. Those deals added 160 clients for a total of 250, including such names as the Indiana Pacers, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, Ball Memorial Outpatient Services in Muncie, The Finish Line Inc. and Mutual Federal Savings Bank in Muncie.

Hudson also hired the owners of the two firms that were acquired. Andrew Loehr is now a vice president and Jess Stump is an executive vice president.

Beginning Jan. 1, the three firms will begin operating as Gallagher Benefit Services and become one of 70 Gallagher offices nationwide. Those offices produced 2007 revenue of $238 million.

The acquisitions helped Strategic Health grow its revenue 43 percent in 2008. Hudson declined to reveal the revenue of the combined firms. But in a 2007 interview, Hudson said his firm had $3 million in revenue.

Next year, Hudson aims to make three acquisitions and add 150 clients. If revenue grows 45 percent, as he plans, Gallagher's Indiana operation could boast more than $6 million in revenue next year.

Size is becoming more important for benefits brokers as employers demand help not just with finding a cheaper plan, but also with getting their employees to improve their health and make wise financial decisions when seeking health care.
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