Wyoming’s largest independent insurance agency is no longer owned by Wyomingites.
HUB International, an insurance company with more than 470 offices in the United States, acquired Wyoming Financial Insurance in a deal announced Wednesday.
Bob Moberly, the former CEO of Wyoming Financial Insurance, said the acquisition had been in the works for more than two years. Although the company prided itself on its local focus and clientele, Moberly said working under an international company should give insurance clients access to a wider range of resources like analytics data and compliance lawyers.
“It’s unfortunate that it is owned now by an out-of-state company because I believe at WERCS (parent company Wyoming Employee Resource Capital and Services) everything we stand for is trying to keep money in Wyoming, to build a better economy,” Moberly said. “In this particular instance it made sense for us.
“It’s like selling your oldest child, to sell the insurance agency, because it gave us capital, and 100% of the capital will be reinvested in Wyoming for this new direction we’re going.”
That new direction will include an expansion into the rural internet market, Moberly said, with several mergers coming to WERCS in the near future.
Moberly said that WERCS recently took a financial hit in its property division in Cheyenne, as state offices that used to be housed in their buildings moved out and into a state-owned building. The company was left with mortgages to pay and no tenants to help pay them, and Moberly said they were anticipating something similar happening in Casper once the state building on West Collins Drive completes construction.
“It certainly isn’t going to be a long-term issue; it just created a short-term situation,” Moberly said. “One of the solutions to the situation was getting consideration for the sale of the insurance agency, which is ultimately what we ended up doing. That did play a role in terms of the thought process.”
The money HUB offered for Wyoming Financial Insurance was a way to stay afloat on the property and other sides of WERCS’ business while waiting for new tenants to move in. This way, the parent company retains its properties and gets an influx of capital — how much, no one would say — to invest in ventures local to Wyoming.
According to HUB, Wyoming Financial’s clients shouldn’t see any disruption or outsourcing in their service. All of the agency’s employees kept their jobs and their accounts, and regional president Rene LeVeaux said the company may even do additional hiring in the state if needed.
HUB already has 9 locations in Wyoming, LeVeaux said, five in cities that also have existing Wyoming Financial offices (including Casper). The acquisition will bring that number up to 15 across the state.
Former Wyoming Financial Insurance President Art Hansen said the agency had rapidly expanded its employee benefits division in the last couple of years, acquiring at least three other companies along the way.
“It was growing faster than we could handle, and (HUB) was ideally suited to be able to support our clients,” Hansen said. “And that, I think, is what really launched us — we’ve maxed out, we can’t go any further, we don’t have the resources.”
Hansen will also be leaving their posts at the agency, along with former CFO Mike Kretzer.
HUB is no stranger to acquisitions — in the last year, LeVeaux said they’ve completed around 60 or 70 in Canada and the United States. In the mountain states region, which LeVeaux heads, he estimates they’ve made around 25 acquisitions in the last decade.