Savannah-based Seacrest Partners Inc. has announced it will merge with Atlanta-based Sterling Risk Advisors Inc. and operate as Sterling Seacrest Partners Inc., effective July 1.
The new company will be the largest privately held, independent insurance brokerage in the state of Georgia.
The merged firm will employ more than 150 insurance agents and service team members with six offices in Savannah, Atlanta and Columbus; Hilton Head Island, S.C., and Little Rock, Ark.
“We are thrilled to combine forces with Sterling Risk Advisors, a firm that shares our passion for a client-first approach and a deeply rooted commitment to the communities we serve,” said Seacrest President David Paddison.
“We both understand the importance of independent ownership and how it has fostered alignment between our employees, our clients and our insurance carriers. This alignment of interests has been the cornerstone of our individual successes and will serve us well as we prepare to integrate our organizations.”
Clients of both firms will benefit from access to a broader team with a depth of resources, experience and knowledge that is unmatched in the market place, Paddison said, adding that Sterling Seacrest Partners will offer clients a robust platform as they navigate their complex issues related to their risk management and employee benefit programs.
Sterling President Doug Rieder agreed.
“The insurance landscape is constantly changing,” he said. “Remaining private and independently owned is extremely important to us and to our clients.
“Our clients have the confidence and peace of mind that they will always receive the highest level of service from a loyal and dedicated team. It also allows us to stay nimble and quickly respond to changes in the market,” Rieder said.
“We will continue to invest in the latest technology and be able to offer more resources to our clients as we work with them to navigate an increasingly challenging risk environment.”
Rieder will serve as the new firm’s chairman, Paddison will be president and Sterling’s John Miller will be chief executive officer.
The merger will fill a gap created by the rampant consolidation of large independent brokers over the last several years and will give clients, insurance carriers and employees an option outside the public brokers and private equity owned platforms, Paddison said.
“Being privately held with no outside investors allows us to align with the three things that matter to us – our employees, our clients and our insurance carriers,” he said. “We remain very protective of our ownership structure as it can impact your focus, your time horizon and complicate the decisions you have to make.”.
“That’s why we started Seacrest 11 years ago and why we have continued to seek out partners who share our philosophy. There is an advantage to growth, as long as it’s like kind and quality.”
Both firms have exceptional talent, he said, all of whom are dedicated to the client-centric culture.
“We’ve had a friendly competition with Sterling for years; we’re about the same age, we have similar track records and share the same basic philosophy,” Paddison said.
“We believe that together we can continue to cultivate and retain some of the best minds in the business while supplying more opportunity for growth.
“We are so thrilled because this is a win not just for our companies, but for our team members, our insurance partners and, most importantly, for our clients.”
Seacrest Partners is a privately held insurance brokerage and consulting firm serving a wide range of clients with complex property/casualty, employee benefit and personal insurance needs. Established in 2006, Seacrest Partners is comprised of a diverse group of professionals with backgrounds in underwriting, claims management, risk management consulting, employee benefits consulting and retail insurance brokerage.
Seacrest’s associates average 20 years’ experience in the insurance industry and operate from offices in Savannah, Hilton Head Island, and Atlanta. Driven by a “client-first” business philosophy, Seacrest provides tailored insurance and consulting solutions to companies with locations across the country and abroad.
Serving the construction industry, healthcare, professional practices, transportation, logistics, real estate, hospitality, manufacturers, distributors, education, not-for profit entities and other commercial and personal clients, Sterling is committed to the client’s interests and works in partnership with them to provide services and solutions customized to today’s dynamic marketplace.
As a result, Sterling Risk Advisors continues to be a workplace of choice, consistently outpacing the industry averages in terms of revenue growth, profitability, productivity and client retention.
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