Insurance brokers have an appetite for mergers and acquisitions (M&A)1. Of those who are business owners, almost half have contemplated M&A to boost their bottom lines, broaden their portfolios or geography, and strengthen their competitiveness. One-third of insurance brokerage owners with annual revenue of more than $5 million plan to explore the sale of their businesses in the next five years.
Belvedere Pacific Insurance Services, a well-respected and thriving San Francisco Bay Area employee benefits consulting and insurance brokerage firm was acquired by Relation in 2015. It was founded in 2008 by Michael Stallone, an industry veteran with more than three decades of experience delivering outstanding employee-benefits and client relationships.
The Partnership Was a Good Fit for Both Sides
As Michael considered M&A, he knew what he wanted in a partner—a place to call home where he could access in-house resources he’d previously had to outsource. Of all the potential partners he investigated, he believed joining Relation would be the best fit and would allow him to offer better service at competitive rates to his valued clients2. Additionally, he wanted to be part of an organization where he could not only grow his business but also have a direct impact on the growth and direction of the company’s employee benefits practice.
Michael was an exceptional fit for Relation’s President of Employee Benefits, Keri Lopez, who was looking to expand the employee benefits team with seasoned brokers. Stallone promised to bring innovative ways for Relation to reduce costs, complexity, and the administrative burden to the table.
“They prioritized my goals and interests, and I could tell they were there for my benefit just as much as for their own.”
Early on, the Partnership Yielded Great Results
Upon joining Relation, Michael immediately added value through his wealth of experience with technology outsourcing for large, sophisticated clients and was able to step in as a senior advisor for several of Relation’s more substantial client relationships.
“Michael has brought additional capabilities to Relation that have added a huge amount of value for our clients.”
Two Cultures Aligned
From the earliest conversations, Relation and Belvedere Pacific both expressed the need for a culture fit. Finding alignment can be an obstacle during mergers and acquisitions3. That wasn’t the case with Relation. Michael believed that, at the end of the day, all things being equal on the economics, technology, and available in-house resources of a potential transaction, it was the people at Relation and the culture they created that made it a destination of choice for him as an acquisition partner.
“From the leadership team, through every level of management, to the client service roles, the people who make up this company are in a league of their own. Insurance doesn’t have to be where fun goes to die. No amount of new technology or updated processes can make up for not having great people. We have fun at Relation–people truly enjoy providing great service to our clients, and it’s a good place to be.”
Four Years Later, The Partnership Has Been a Win-Win
Partnering with Relation allowed Michael to service more clients faster than ever with in-house marketing, employee, and compliance resources. Backed by Relation, he’s continued to adapt to the rapidly evolving employee benefits environment and has more than doubled the size of his book, placing him regularly on the company’s leaderboard for sales.
“They showed they were willing to invest the resources and provide the support necessary to help me grow my business. Joining the Relation team has allowed Belvedere Pacific to continue offering the same great service to our valued clients, in addition to having the in-house resources to analyze and respond to the rapidly evolving employee benefits environment—especially when it comes to complex areas such as healthcare reform and compliance.”
Michael has also become an invaluable resource to Relation by helping solve one of the industry’s biggest challenges—talent training and retention4. He has paid his success forward by mentoring up-and-coming employee-benefits producers, several of whom themselves are now top producers at Relation.
To learn more about becoming a Relation acquisition partner, visit our M&A page. If you’re searching for the resources to help your business grow, a rewarding culture, being part of an increasingly recognized team, and a chance to influence a business being built to thrive for 100+ years from the ground up, let’s chat.
 Deloitte Insurance M&A Outlook 2019
 PwC Global Survey Consumer Intelligence Series: CX in M&A: What consumers think when companies combine
 PwC’s 10th Annual Global CEO Survey
 PwC’s 21st CEO Survey: Insurance