Alliance Berkshire, LLC and Main Street Insurance Agencies have announced a new alliance which will see 11 independent agencies join forces to represent 28 carriers throughout the Commonwealth.
Sweeping changes in the insurance industry and deregulation have resulted in a more competitive environment that makes it more difficult for smaller, independent agencies to gain access to some insurance markets, explains Richard J. Webber, president of Alliance Main Street Insurance Group.
“Together our 11 agencies have greater power and can better serve the insurance needs of each of our agency’s clients, “he adds. “As a bloc with a combined $120 million in policies, the Alliance gains marketing and bargaining power with the premier group of carriers that our members represent.”
Joint venture rather than merger
Although the companies’ press release generally used the term “merger”, AgencyChecklists’ review of these companies’ corporate filings with the Secretary of State show that each company has, in fact, maintained its separate legal identity. Since there is no actual no merger of the LLCs, the announced arrangement is probably best characterized as a joint venture. Such a joint venture agreement would allow a pooling of interests between the companies so that the Alliance Berkshire and Main Street Insurance Agencies maintain the equity interests for the individual LLC members who are the owners of the underlying agencies that place their business through the joint venture.
The agencies involved in the new arrangement
The 11 principals and their agencies who make up the new alliance are as follows:
Canary Blomstrom Insurance Agency, Feeding Hills, Sandra L. Brodeur;
Colt Insurance Agency, Pittsfield, W. Kelly Collins;
Halstead Insurance Agency, Fitchburg, Anthony P. Trapasso, Jr. ;
Herlihy Group, Worcester, Jim Herlihy;
Jubinville Insurance Agency, South Hadley, Cary R. Jubinville, CPCU, CIC, MSLIA;
Mackintire Insurance Agency, Westborough, Robert P. Mackintire;
Marsh-Kemp Insurance Agency, Worcester, Thomas S. McLear;
O’Connor & Co. Insurance Agency, Dudley, Dan O’Connor;
Smith Brothers-McAndrews Insurance Agency, Adams, Bernard A. Pinsonnault, BHS;
Webber & Grinnell Insurance Agency, Northampton, William D. Grinnell; and
Wheeler & Taylor Insurance Agency, Great Barrington, George A. Ryan, Jr.
The advantages that the participants see in the new venture
Unlike other marketing clusters in which agencies pay a fee in order to gain access to additional markets, all 11 agency principals are an owner of Alliance Main Street. “As a member of the Alliance and one of 11 agencies on the same team, we gain some of the benefits of being big even as we maintain our individual identities and retain the benefits of being small and local,” explains Colleen Herlihy, president of Main Street Insurance.
In addition, members say that they also will be better able to meet clients’ needs by actively seeking out and negotiating the best products and services from carriers they choose to represent. In addition, by remaining essentially independent agents, each agency can continue its commitment to continue the legacies of their own agencies and communities.
Whatever the exact arrangement, the Alliance Berkshire and Main Street Insurance Group joint venture will now reach 16 communities in Massachusetts. Besides the communities where the member agencies are headquartered, the Alliance Main Street members also operate in the communities of Leicester, Sheffield, Sterling, Stockbridge, and Webster.