2018 has been a watershed year for the Wellesley-based Alliance
2018 has been a banner year for the Wellesley-based alliance. In addition to its founder and President, J. Bruce Cochrane, being named the 2018 Insurance Professional of the Year, the company also announced this year a $30 million dollar investment from Long Arc Capital, the first of its kind for agency alliance. In terms of numbers, the alliance now says that 2018 premium under management is estimated at more than $600 million with the alliance partnering with 45 insurance companies.
With that in mind, independent insurance agency members turned out in force this month to attend the 2018 annual meeting of the Renaissance Alliance Insurance Services (RAIS). The two-day event, held in Newport, Rhode Island, drew more than 400 agency members, insurance carriers and vendors to come and learn more about RAIS’s future in addition to taking part in featured networking and breakout sessions, kiosks, demos and interactive sessions in the Carrier & Vendor Pavilion.
As is the custom, RAIS’ President J. Bruce Cochrane along with RAIS’ Vice President Heather Cochrane Russo addressed attendees in a multi-media presentation highlighting a variety of the initiatives RAIS has taken up over the past year—most notably, the announcement of Long Arc capital and its $30 million dollar investment into the company, as well as what the alliance has planned for the year ahead.
In discussing the future, Ms. Cochrane noted that this year’s discussion would be a departure the type of discussions from years past.
“So in years past, if you’ve been here with us for a while, you’ve heard us stand up here and talk about what’s happening in the future. What do we see coming down the line in this industry that we can either take advantage of as an opportunity or is a threat that we need to fortify ourselves against? This year is different. We’re not looking outward. This year we’re looking inward. What do we already have right underneath our nose for capabilities that will allow us all to grow exponentially.”
As for Mr. Cochrane, his main prediction was about the growth he envisions for the alliance both via the introduction of Long Arc Capital and how it will allow the company “to expedite growth plans and fund key technology initiatives” as well as the organic growth he believes members will generate themselves.
Three Long Arc Capital executives join the RAIS executive team
As part of Long Arc’s investment, growth also comes to the executive team at the Alliance, which announced three new appointments to the executive team. Mr. Cochrane announced that Kevin Callahan will join RAIS as Executive Chairman, Robert A. Bondi has been appointed Chief Agency Growth Officer, and Michael Freilich, will become Chief Technology Officer. In commenting on the appointments, Mr. Cochrane noted that the “tripling” of the executive team affords the Alliance the management bandwidth and additional world-class expertise to expedite growth capabilities of Alliance member agencies.
Apart from the new additions from the Long Arc Capital, Mr. Cochrane also introduced another Leanne Ross, Senior Vice President, New Member Sales who also joins the senior management team. Prior to joining RAIS, Ms. Ross was most recently the CEO of Ivy Ladder. She also was previously a regional sales executive with The Hartford. Her mission at RAIS will focus on working with the executive team to grow membership in the Alliance.
For those interested in learning more about the specifics of Long Arc Capital’s investment in the Renaissance Alliance, please refer to Agency Checklists’ article entitled, “Renaissance Alliance Receives $30 Million To Expand Its Agency Network’s Services And Footprint.”
Four new agencies join RAIS ranks while another four Massachusetts insurance agencies reach 15-year membership milestone
One of the principal initiatives that will be undertaken in the coming year will be a focus on a variety of agency growth initiatives. In particular, RAIS plans to implement a team of Agency Success Coaches, along with a buildout of technology initiatives and conversion of data into actionable agency-specific growth strategies. A geographic expansion is also planned for 2019. As for this year, RAIS welcomed four new member agencies to its ranks:
As for current agency members, RAIS says members grew an average of 7.5% over the past year, more than double the national average growth of 3% for agencies. More than 90 agency members and their subsidiaries have locations throughout five different states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island. And as for the highest performing agency members, they grew an average of 17% in 2018, with 10 agencies having more than doubled premium in the past five years alone.
- Dougherty Insurance Agency, Inc., Stratford CT
- E.F. Bishop, Providence RI, Providence RI
- The Marcucilli Agency, Inc., Bethel, CT
- Universal Insurance Agency, Worcester MA
Four other agencies, all based in Massachusetts, celebrated their 15-year membership milestone in 2018. They were:
- Blackmer Insurance Agency, Inc., Shelburne MA
- Cornerstone Agency, Athol MA
- Leonard Insurance Agency, Inc., Osterville MA
- Mancuso-Nowak Insurance Agency, Inc., Shrewsbury MA