RogersGray On Its Decision to Partner with Baldwin Risk Partners and Its “Merry Band of Insurance Geeks”

Without a doubt, one of our ‘most read’ articles of the past year was of the announcement that RogersGray had been acquired by Baldwin Risk Partners. As one of Massachusetts’ oldest and largest independent insurance agencies, the decision to join BRP resonated with many of our readers.

As such, Agency Checklists reached out to the agency’s owners, Michael and David Robinson, to see if they would be interested in sharing their insights and reasons behind their decision and how the transition has been thus far. Here is what they had to say:

As one of Massachusetts’ oldest and largest independent agencies, the announcement that RogersGray had been acquired by the Baldwin Risk Partners (“BRP”) generated quite a response on Agency Checklists. Can you share with us the story behind how this deal came about?

We met the team from BRP through MarshBerry – part of a small peer group of six agencies from across the country. BRP joined our group and over the past few years we have spent a lot of time-sharing best practices with one another. When we started thinking about how we could accelerate growth and technology at RogersGray, they were a natural fit for us.

We already knew them, had a comfort level both personally and professionally with them, and believed in their vision for the future. We wanted to be part of it and started exploring how RogersGray could fit in to this vision. We determined that RogersGray would be the brand that would represent New England for BRP.

For those who may be unfamiliar with BRP, who are they and how did you know that they were the right partner for RogersGray?

BRP – Baldwin Risk Partners – is a self-described “merry band of insurance geeks” but in reality, is a collection of entrepreneurs that want to do business with and work with other entrepreneurs. The publicly-traded parent company of BRP is BRP Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: BRP).

Michael Robinson

Had RogersGray been considering a sale of the agency for a long time, or was this simply an offer that couldn’t be passed up?

We had not considered any transition of the agency; we were experiencing incredible growth and were dedicated to our own vision for the future. 

We consider partnering with BRP as a way of “buying in” to something vs. “selling out.”  We rolled a significant amount of our own equity into BRP and couldn’t be more excited about the future and the direction we are headed.

How did you know this was the right decision for RogersGray, right now?

This was the hardest professional decision we have ever made.   We didn’t take it lightly.  We looked at it from all angles including the most important: How will this decision effect our 225+ colleagues and their families. It was a long process resulting in us knowing that this was the absolute right decision and the perfect time to start the next chapter in the RogersGray storybook.  We also knew that our clients would be better served with the additional resources and depth of expertise from combining our firms.

David Robinson

It now has been a few months since the announcement. Can you tell us how the transition has been, thus far?

So far, so good and we expect that to continue. A change like this is not without its disruptions – benefits changes, systems integrations, changing your 401k vendor etc.… but those are procedural items that we had to get through.

We’re just really starting to see the major benefits of our Partnership now and that is exciting. The resources our team – and ultimately our clients – will now have access to are unparalleled. Sharing best practices with firms like RogersGray across the country has amped up our colleagues! Over the years, we have been dedicated to reinvesting into growth and the future but had limited capital and had to prioritize. The investments that we had planned to make over the next 3-5 years are actually now being realized in 2022. 

The deal appears to be more of a new partnership rather than a straight sale. How does RogersGray fit within the BRP family? What will be RogersGray’s role going forward?

Partnership is the better reflection of the relationship that RogersGray and BRP have formed. 

RogersGray is now part of BRP’s Middle Market collection of Top 100 Agencies across the country, and that group is governed by the Regional Presidents. RogersGray will be responsible for the operations and growth of the New England region for BRP.  We continue to make decisions that are best for our clients, colleagues and communities. The collaborative process with BRP truly allows us to run this business just like we were before July 2021.

Could you share with us what your plans are for the coming year? Will you retain your name, staff, and office locations or will you be changing over to the BRP brand?

RogersGray is now the New England arm of BRP, meaning that an agency in New England that is brought under the BRP umbrella will become part of RogersGray. Our goal here is to continue to partner with like-minded firms, who are growing. We’re being selective with the firms we partner with because it must be a win-win.  Our goal is to find those firms who have strong organic growth or bring expansion to RogersGray, either geographically or through specialization.

In terms of the RogersGray offices and staff members – not only have we kept all our staff on board, but plan to hire an additional 50+ new team members in 2022.

How was the announcement received by your staff? How will the business change as a result of the Partnership?

We were obviously nervous to announce, but the news was received really positively by our team.

We have worked hard to develop a high level of trust amongst all of us at RogersGray and we leaned in to that trust.  We held daily meetings, sent daily email updates, had open office hours with us that any team member could schedule etc.… to really walk people through what was in it for them.

Every member of our team was retained, each and every member also received cash and stock bonuses.  Future growth at RogersGray, as well as BRP as a whole, creates opportunities for our team.  We have had several team members already step up and fill roles that have national impact.

There is a huge amount of consolidation going on right now in the Massachusetts insurance industry. What are your thoughts on this consolidation as well as the huge influx of private equity money that is entering our industry?

It’s not a secret that PE money is out there, but that wasn’t an option we would ever consider.   The primary driver for us was culture and we didn’t feel that PE backed firms had the long-term dedication to culture that we required.  BRP has done a tremendous job creating a culture where colleagues can thrive while using the stock of a publicly traded company to fuel growth.

Digging deeper into this new partnership, will RogersGray be the based for BRP in New England? Do you plan on continuing to acquire agencies in Massachusetts and growing here?

We are the New England brand for BRP and plan to expand into all New England States by partnering with like-minded agencies.  Our primary focus, however, will be to continue to drive organic growth by investing in sales advisors and service colleagues.  We have an incredible training program for those who don’t have industry experience.  We also have tremendous tools and resources available for experienced people to thrive.  

What advice do you have for other agencies contemplating a sale?

When contemplating a partnership, we would strongly encourage those making this monumental decision to clearly understand the reasons behind what is driving them to this seat.  Is it to retire?  Is it to grow faster?  Is it to add more resources to clients and colleagues?  There are many other questions to reflect on and finding the right partner to help you accomplish those goals is key.

We believe the number one reason to partner with RogersGray is to have a sustainable future for your team and your clients. Working with a good firm allows for resources, a thriving environment, and an opportunity to build wealth for all of your colleagues.

If an agent was interested in contacting RogersGray to discuss a potential sale, who should they contact?

We’d be happy to have a conversation with anyone who wanted advice or to talk through the future. They can reach out to either of us – Mike or Dave Robinson at RogersGray.  In our roles as Regional Presidents for New England, we are both driving acquisitive and organic growth for RogersGray, A Baldwin Risk Partner.

Is there anything else we missed that you would like to share with our readers?

Our last thought is around agency team member education. We’ve always had a strong learning and development program and career opportunity growth at RogersGray and now that’s even more enhanced with our new partnership. Anyone interested in learning more – please reach out!

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