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Insurance Agency Owners Overwhelmingly View M&A as a Success and Value Independence When Pursuing Partnership

Insurance Agency Owners Overwhelmingly View M&A as a Success and Value Independence When Pursuing Partnership

A new research study, commissioned by Keystone Agency Partners, reveals that close personal relationships and better engagement help independent agencies win out over bigger insurance companies

Eighty percent of independent insurance agency owners and leaders say that mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are celebrated as a success for the agency, according to a recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Keystone Agency Partners (KAP), a rapidly growing, Business Insurance Top-100 ranked national insurance brokerage platform.

The 2022 Independent Insurance Agency Owners Study also found there is some appetite to sell their own agency to another strategic brokerage or private equity-backed investor, with more than half (56 percent) of agencies reporting they are somewhat or very interested in selling today. However, more than half (56 percent) of leaders say one of the biggest benefits of being independent is the ability to make their own business decisions.

“These research findings reveal that hesitation to sell is not a result of negative industry perception of M&A. Rather, it’s likely tied to the perceived loss of control when an owner sells their agency,” said Dan Girardi, Chief Acquisitions Officer at KAP. “Partnerships with a retained ownership model solve this concern because they allow owners to preserve a stake in the agency and maintain their independent entrepreneurial spirit.”

When it comes to competing with national brokers, more than half of independent agencies (52 percent) report that they often or always win the business — citing their close personal relationships with clients (63 percent) as the leading driver for winning business, followed by a higher level of engagement with their clients (46 percent).

“Independent local agencies have levels of knowledge about the community and the inherent risks facing a local business that bigger insurance brokers cannot replicate,” said Jeff Turner, CEO of KAP. “By allowing agencies to maintain their autonomy while providing them with strategic support and resources to accelerate the agency’s growth, KAP’s Connected Autonomy model breathes new life into agency owners, reigniting their entrepreneurial spirit and empowering their success.”

Additional survey findings include:

  • Strategic partnerships are among the top items (37 percent) that agencies feel will help them grow and compete in today’s market.
  • The biggest challenges facing agencies include attracting or retaining talent (40 percent), price competition (26 percent), amount of money they are able to spend on marketing/advertising (23 percent) and cybersecurity, data privacy and digital risk mitigation (21 percent).
  • Agencies are interested in consultative support for marketing and communications (71 percent), strategic planning (64 percent) and organic growth strategy (63 percent). Large agencies ($500k+) are more likely to be interested in support for product innovation (65 percent), sales training (64 percent) and data analytics (61 percent) compared to smaller agencies.

Download the full study at:

Research method: This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Keystone Agency Partners between April 11 and May 9, 2022, among 385 owners, co-owners, CEOs, and COOs of independent insurance agencies with annual revenue of $150,000 or more – a sample representing the market’s composition. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 5.1 percentage points using a 95 percent confidence level.

About Keystone Agency Partners

Keystone Agency Partners is a rapidly growing insurance brokerage platform that acquires and partners with independent insurance agencies throughout the United States. KAP provides best-in-class services and capital investment that unlocks potential and delivers outsized and profitable growth within its platform agencies. Keystone Agency Partners was founded in 2020 in partnership with Keystone Insurers Group, Inc. and affiliates of Bain Capital, LP. For more information please visit:

About The Harris Poll

The Harris Poll is a global consulting and market research firm that strives to reveal the authentic values of modern society to inspire leaders to create a better tomorrow. It works with clients in three primary areas: building twenty-first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. One of the longest-running surveys in the U.S., The Harris Poll has tracked public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963, and is now part of Stagwell, the challenger holding company built to transform marketing.

William Welch
Keystone Agency Partners

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