Integrity Marketing Group, the nation's largest independent distributor of life and health insurance products, today announced it is acquiring Brokers International in a blockbuster merger of industry giants.
As one of the oldest and most influential life insurance, annuity and wealth-planning organizations, Brokers International supports thousands of agents, agency partners and financial advisors who provide life insurance and retirement solutions to Americans, Integrity said in a news release.
As part of the transaction, Mark Williams, president and CEO of Brokers International, will become a managing partner with Integrity. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
"This is huge because Brokers International was the first marketing organization in the life insurance and annuity space, and they're now selling to the biggest distributor of [Medicare supplement] products in the nation," said Sheryl Moore, president and CEO of Moore Market Intelligence. "Now they're going to have the opportunity to leverage their med supp knowledge, and new annuity expertise, to provide cross-selling opportunities to a much larger group of sales people."
Integrity provided the following breakdown of how the merger expands the company's reach:
• This partnership doubles Integrity’s annual paid premium from $3.5 to $7 billion.
• Brokers International is attributed with developing the IMO model that the insurance industry is built upon.
• Adding Brokers International's 13,000 financial advisors to the Integrity portfolio further expands the offerings available to its 345,000 agents.
• Integrity currently serves more than 7 million Americans with their insurance needs.
The Brokers International deal is the seventh merger/acquisition Integrity has closed so far in 2021, Moore said, and the 44th in less than two years. But it is the first major deal of an annuity focused company, she added, and could propel Integrity into distribution competition with companies such as Simplicity, Annexus, TruChoice and AmeriLife.
Brokers International founder, Roger McCarty, launched the company in 1983 and is "recognized as an industry icon whose vision created the independent marketing organization model that revolutionized insurance distribution and is now the industry standard," the release said.
Today, Brokers International, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, offers agencies, agents and financial professionals a comprehensive and proprietary range of products and services, including compliance, marketing, IT and new business support.
In 2021, Brokers International will place more than $3.5 billion in annual premium with 13,000 advisors serving hundreds of thousands of Americans, the release said. Also included in the transaction are Brokers International's Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) and full-service broker-dealer platform, Brokers Financial, with more than $1 billion in assets under management.
"Brokers International has built one of the most well-respected brands in the insurance and annuity space and they do it with class," said Bryan W. Adams, CEO and co-founder of Integrity Marketing Group. "At Integrity, we're already a market leader in life and health insurance distribution, and now with Brokers International's large presence in the financial services, annuity and traditional life insurance markets, we can help Americans more fully plan for their retirement needs as well. It is a perfect example of the way Integrity is revolutionizing the industry through partnership, and it shows we can accomplish more together than we do apart."
"We see so much opportunity by combining the full suite of products and services we offer with Integrity's reach in the life and health insurance markets — this allows us to provide a more holistic planning service to our agents and agencies," explained Mark Williams, President and CEO of Brokers International. "Agencies are looking for an expanded product portfolio and Integrity's vast footprint will allow us to help them diversify, while also giving our agencies stronger marketing programs, cutting-edge technology platforms and more back-office services.
"We can serve thousands more financial services professionals, which means we can in turn help hundreds of thousands more retirees. By combining Integrity's resources with our legacy and growth trajectory, I know we'll make a significant impact on shaping our industry's future."
Through the partnership, Brokers International enhances its ability to support its agency customers by utilizing Integrity's vast and rapidly expanding array of products and services, the news release said. The Integrity platform includes powerful resources such as product development, data analytics, research and development, and quoting and enrollment platforms.
Partners also draw upon a comprehensive range of shared services such as IT, accounting, legal, human resources and a full-service marketing and advertising firm.
"As we considered what we needed in a partner who could help us grow, yet retain our legacy, Integrity just felt like home," shared Kelly Bennett, chief distribution officer of Brokers International. "Having access to incredibly innovative tools, new partners and wider distribution only creates more opportunities for our agencies. We can pour more time and energy into supporting the agents, agencies and financial advisors we serve because of the resources Integrity offers. It feels like the perfect fit for everyone."
Partnering with Integrity also offers Brokers International employees the opportunity to gain meaningful company ownership through Integrity's Employee Ownership Plan.
"Having ownership in a company is the American dream, so we're honored to now offer our employees a stake in our growth," continued Mark Williams. "When I look back on my career of more than three decades in the financial services business, I've never been granted an opportunity to partner with such a successful firm that will make this type of impact on the future growth of our business."
"Welcoming Brokers International to the Integrity family is an exciting day for all of us," shared Integrity Chairman Steve Young. "Roger McCarty was a pioneer in the industry, innovating the way agencies worked together to accomplish more by uniting together. Integrity shares this same vision and I know Roger would be proud of what we are building and how we are shaping the industry to help more Americans than ever before with their insurance and retirement needs."