Bridge Specialty Group recently announced its acquisition of New England Excess Exchange (NEEE), a leading wholesale MGA providing commercial and personal lines solutions to retail brokers in the Northeast.
Founded in 1981 and headquartered in Barre, Vermont, NEEE has grown to be a top wholesale insurance distributor in the New England, Tri-State, and Mid-Atlantic regions and is currently owned by Ralf H. “Goober” Schaarschmidt II and Todd Wood. The agency specializes in hard-to-place property and casualty risks, leveraging technology to provide customized coverage options and excellent customer service to its retail broker partners.
According to the terms of the transaction, NEEE will maintain its brand identity and continue operating from its Vermont headquarters. Ralf “Goober” Schaarschmidt also has announced that he will be continuing on after the completion of the sale to advise NEEE and offer guidance on strategic projects for Bridge Speciatly Group. He will report to the president of Bridge Specialty Group, Steve Boyd.
“We are excited to welcome the New England Excess team to Bridge Specialty Group,” said Mr. Boyd in comments he made on the acquisition. “The legacy of providing innovative insurance solutions to their retail broker partners is aligned with our strategy and meaningfully expands our capabilities and footprint in the Northeast. This will allow us to further forge key partnerships and collectively unlock new business opportunities.”
“I am incredibly excited about this next phase for the New England Excess team as we join Bridge Specialty Group,” added Ralf “Goober” Schaarschmidt. From my parents establishing the firm in 1981 to today, New England Excess has focused on fostering mutually beneficial relationships with our employees, carrier partners and retail agent partners. We are confident that, as part of Bridge Specialty Group, Todd and the team will continue that focus while creating innovative insurance solutions for our customers.”
The deal, expected to close in August 2023, will expand Bridge Specialty’s capabilities and footprint in key regions throughout the Northeast.
Acquisition Provides Growth Opportunities
The acquisition presents an opportunity for both companies to accelerate growth plans. For NEEE, joining Bridge Specialty opens up access to expanded carrier appointments, specialty products, and operational resources while preserving its broker-focused approach. Bridge Specialty gains an experienced team with deep regional expertise, carrier relationships, and a proven track record of crafting solutions for complex risks.
The deal is announced on the heels of strong second quarter 2023 financial results for Bridge Specialty’s parent company, Brown & Brown. Brown & Brown reported 24.7% revenue growth in Q2 to $1.047 billion, while income before taxes grew 28% and adjusted EBITDAC increased 30.5% year-over-year. This continues the company’s consistent track record of profitable growth. The Bridge Specialty acquisition provides another lever for expanding Brown & Brown’s wholesale distribution capabilities.
Integrating Operations and Expertise
While maintaining the NEEE brand, the agency will integrate into Bridge Specialty’s wholesale platform. This will provide a broader distribution channel for NEEE’s products while allowing Bridge Specialty to serve more retail brokers in the region with tailored solutions. NEEE’s leadership will also participate in enterprise-wide initiatives to share their expertise.
Industry Consolidation Continues
This deal reflects the ongoing consolidation amongst insurance distributors, as acquirers aim to gain scale, talent, tech capabilities, and geographic reach. NEEE marks Bridge Specialty’s first significant Northeast operation, allowing national brokers to be served through a single wholesale access point. The acquisition trend is expected to persist as distributors position themselves to add value in a dynamic marketplace.
The transaction blends NEEE’s strong regional presence with Bridge Specialty’s national capabilities and specialty breadth. For retail brokers and policyholders, it maintains a trusted resource while expanding insurance options. Both parties are optimistic the deal will unlock growth potential.