Alera Group Acquires Four More Brokerages

May 15, 2018

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Source: Employee Benefit Adviser

The sprawling Alera Group, which has been rapidly expanding its employee benefits business through a series of acquisitions, has added four more brokerages. The deals, which were closed May 1st, expanding the company’s presence in California, the Midwest and the eastern U.S., giving it offices in more than 65 U.S. locations.

The newly acquired firms include Dickerson Employee Benefits with headquarters in Los Angeles; Courtney Group, a property and casualty insurer located in Highland Park, IL; Strategic Employee Benefit Services Of Pittsburgh and Benefit Plan Strategies, headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Dickerson Employee Benefits has 63 employees and is Alera’s largest acquisition since it was formed in January 2017 through a merger of 24 independent benefits, insurance and wealth management firms. There are now more than 50 firms under the Alera group umbrella.

DEB has offered employee benefits, as well as wholesale and retail insurance, since its founding in 1964. The brokerage will keep its name but will now be known as “an Alera Group company.” CEO Tony Lee and president Michael Wolff will remain on board as managing directors.

Buying binge to continue

Alera, which has purchased more than a dozen firms since the turn of the year, plans to continue its buying binge.

“There’re some areas in the Southwest like Florida and the Carolinas where we still don’t have much of a presence,” says John Clark, the employee benefits practice leader for the group. Other regions targeted for expansion include Texas, where the firm already has brokerages in Dallas and Houston.

“We’d like to expand in that market and in the Midwest, where there are some gaps. We’re always looking to expand our footprint,” Clark says, “but more importantly, we’re making sure that the culture of the agencies we acquire fits the Alera Group model. That’s more important than location.”

This latest spate of acquisitions follows the purchase of life insurance firm Tippett Moorhead & Haden in late April.

While the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based TMH has no plans to offer employee benefits, it will work with the benefit brokers and P&C insurers in Alera Group’s stable.

“What was attractive to us was having access to these firms that have expertise in those other areas that we’re not involved with. I think what made us attractive was all of the Alera P&C and benefit firms that don’t have expertise in what we do so it was a nice marriage from that perspective,” says Don Tippett, managing partner and cofounder of TMH.

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