Brookfield insurance agency acquired for more than $50 million

NIS owners to give $1 million to employees

Terry Briscoe

Brookfield-based insurance agency National Insurance Services has been acquired by Lake Mary, Florida-based AssuredPartners Inc. for more than $50 million.

NIS provides employee benefits consulting and brokerage services for more than 2,500 public sector organizations nationwide. It also administers about 600 403(b) plans, health reimbursements and flexible spending accounts, employee benefit trusts and retirement incentive payouts for schools, cities and counties.

Founded in 1970 by Terry Briscoe, NIS was established to create a long-term disability plan for Wisconsin schools employees. Briscoe was the largest shareholder at about 23 percent, longtime employee Tom Ehrsam was a 14 percent owner, and six key employees were also partial owners of the company when it was sold May 1. NIS was sold because Briscoe and Ehrsam, both 79, wanted to retire, Briscoe said.

“Everybody in the company’s getting older, in the management level,” he said. “Probably it was the reason why Tom and I definitely supported the sale. Plus, the price was almost too good to believe, so that was an important reason, too.”

Under the terms of the deal, all of NIS’ 129 employees will continue to operate out of the same office under the guidance of president and chief executive officer Bruce Miller. The NIS owners also set aside more than $1 million for the non-owner employees, who will receive a portion based on their time of service if they stay on at least one year from the transaction close.

“Because we’re so fortunate, we just wanted to share with those others,” Briscoe said. “The owners are all coming out well on this deal. There are 110 or something other employees that are not involved with that so … we’re trying to be helpful to the employees.”

A separate insurance company, National Insurance Co. of Wisconsin, is being liquidated in a separate transaction, he said.

“It will be a separate event. We’ll get there some day,” Briscoe said. “We transferred all the advantages of the insurance company over to the agency before we sold that.”

AssuredPartners is focused on acquiring and investing in insurance brokerage businesses in the U.S. and London. Founded in 2011, AssuredPartners has more than $1 billion in annual revenue and more than 185 offices in the U.S. and London. It has acquired more than 200 insurance agencies.

The acquisition of NIS is expected to broaden AssuredPartners’ reach in the public sector.

“We focus on partnering with agencies with strong management that demonstrate a dedication to growth and building lasting relationships – we have found this with NIS,” said Tom Riley, president and chief operating officer at AssuredPartners.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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