Stellarus Benefits acquired by Chicago insurance firm

Schwan sells to Hub International

Schwan

Brookfield-based employee benefits firm Stellarus Benefits Inc. has been acquired by Chicago-based insurance company Hub International Ltd. The company was sold Sept. 1 by president Christy Schwan for an undisclosed price.

Schwan

Schwan will stay on as division president of the renamed subsidiary: Stellarus Benefits, a division of Hub International. She will report to Michael Booth, president of employee benefits and chief sales officer, HUB Midwest West. Schwan plans to remain with Hub long-term.

Stellarus was founded in 1984 as Strategic Employee Benefit Services, and was historically owned by a managing partner at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. But after Northwestern Mutual began allowing outside ownership of the firm, Schwan purchased it in 2012. She has worked at Stellarus since 1998.

It can be difficult for smaller employee benefits firms to keep up with the necessary investments in technology and client resources, Schwan said. And with a larger firm, Stellarus’ 225 Midwestern clients will now have access to property and casualty and workers’ compensation insurance.

“I was looking for a partner that would allow us to grow faster and one that I felt had a very similar culture to ours, very entrepreneurial culture, very client-centered,” Schwan said. “And it was important to me…nothing would change in terms of how we work with our clients…we’d still be very hands-on in how we work with our clients, but we would have more resources to provide them.”

Stellarus has 11 employees. Seven work at its Brookfield headquarters office and four work at its Appleton office. Both locations will remain open and all employees will be retained in the transaction, she said. And clients will continue to work with their Stellarus representatives.

“We’re still the quarterbacks and we’re still the interpreters for our clients,” Schwan said.

Hub International is a leading global insurance brokerage offering property and casualty, life and health, employee benefits, investment and risk management products. It has about 10,000 employees at offices across North America. In Wisconsin, it has offices in Brookfield, Sheboygan, Manitowoc and Waunakee.

“Of all of the organizations that they look at in terms of purchase, they only end up buying 20 percent of them. So they’re very selective,” Schwan said of Hub.

“We are excited about expanding our Wisconsin presence with Christy’s leadership and look forward to providing expanded insurance solutions like property and casualty and personal lines to Stellarus clients and prospects,” said Lerone Sidberry, chief executive officer of Hub Midwest West.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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