Due Diligence When Selling An Insurance Agency
The smartest path is for owners to know the value of their agency. Having a current valuation is not only a good tool for strategic planning such as succession, growth, and continuity but can also prepare you to build an exit strategy that maximizes your take-away.
The Due Diligence Process Explained
For Insurance Agency Sales
The due diligence process of a transaction is where a buyer reviews information on an insurance brokerage they are interested in acquiring.
It is the buyer’s window to inspect the financial, operational, and legal aspects of the business before a deal closes. It is a critical stage that requires thorough attention to detail and expertise in insurance operations and accounting.
Three Multiples of Value
Anyone selling an insurance agency will have experience in the same or a similar business and be fairly proficient in reviewing management systems and carrier reports. Although, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they should attempt to handle the process on their own. We foresee the value of our assistance to a buyer as fourfold:
Most due diligence periods provide the buyer with a window of a few weeks. During this same time, the buyer is likely running another business and communicating with their attorney(s), lender, the seller, and anyone else involved in the transaction. Time will move quickly, and the seller isn’t likely going to be patient with delays, so delegating the diligence process helps keep the transaction on schedule.
Accounting errors usually originate from premiums being commingled in the operating account, agency bill revenues not being tracked in the trust account, improper account transfers into the operating account, and a myriad of other sources. Aside from revenue inaccuracies, the pro forma earnings can be misstated by sellers or their representatives which we can also identify with a thorough review of the projected expense adjustments.
At the completion of our investigation, we provide the client with a summary report of our findings. Our report is very detailed and professional, which lends credibility to our conclusions when the report is used in negotiations. When we have uncovered misrepresentations in the seller’s financials, clients have been able to use our due diligence reports to successfully receive price reductions in the hundreds of thousands of dollars – an incredible ROI for the cost.
Peace of Mind
Mistakes in due diligence can cost a buyer a significant amount of money and cause them a great deal of frustration. Having a professional assisting you through the process will add peace of mind for you and your capital partners. This is the primary reason so many large acquirers and lenders have used our services.
Insurance Agency Due Diligence Reviews These Documents
We look at the quality of the revenue, the adjusted earnings, risks in the book of business, employee/producer compensation and production, and a number of other aspects of the business being acquired. While every business is different, we have in-depth knowledge of industry best practices and can point out areas of opportunity or risk within your acquisition target’s operation.
Documentation we review includes:
- Corporate tax returns
- Financial statements
- Management system reports
- Carrier reports
- Employee contracts and non-competition agreements
- Bank statements
- Payroll reports
- Copies of various contracts
- Copies of carrier contracts
- Carrier Production Reports with retention and loss ratios
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Now is the time to make a move
Today’s environment of growing through acquisition has been created through the ease of access of capital and low interest rates. This environment will not last forever as interest rates increase over time valuations will drop and fewer buyers will exist. This market has created a perfect storm for obtaining the highest multiple for your agency.
Insurance Merger Specialists