Two insurance industry veterans launch new firm

The Rauser Agency joins Robertson Ryan & Associates

Two Milwaukee insurance industry veterans are starting a new insurance agency as their former firm, Mequon-based The Rauser Agency Inc., joins Milwaukee-based Robertson Ryan & Associates Inc.

Chris McArdle, former vice president of The Rauser Agency, has launched MKE Benefits with Andrew Wadsworth.

Chris McArdle, former vice president with The Rauser Agency, and Andrew Wadsworth, a former employee benefits specialist with the agency, have launched MKE Benefits, a brokerage specializing in employee benefits, Medicare products and individual insurance.

“After 20-something years working (at The Rauser Agency) and helping grow the business, it’s time to spread our wings,” McArdle said. “It was time to branch off and start our own location. We think that it’s the best way we can continue to serve our clients and move our new business forward.”

McArdle said the business officially launched in early June.

With decades of experience in the insurance industry, McArdle said he and Wadsworth are “closely attuned” to their clients’ needs.

“We pride ourselves on being able to deliver what our client needs,” McArdle said. “… When you’re talking about health insurance or helping someone set up a Medicare supplement plan, it’s so very important to have that personal connection. This is very much a relationship business and I think we’ve done a solid job of building those relationships. We will continue to deliver that high-touch personalized service that we’ve been bringing to market for decades.”

He and Wadsworth are currently looking for an office location, with plans to establish the business in downtown Milwaukee.

“There is a real value to being in the heart of the business district; we have a lot of clients downtown,” McArdle said. “We have some wonderful referral networks between attorneys, financial planners, accountants, many of whom are downtown. So we are exploring a few spaces, but aren’t quite ready to announce yet.”

McArdle said they expect to hire a support staff member and a salesperson this summer, followed by organic growth as the business takes off.

The Rauser Agency, meanwhile, recently announced it has merged with Robertson Ryan & Associates.

“The Robertson Ryan model is unique in the industry in that it allows people like me to own their business, but bring my block of business under the Robertson Ryan management team,” said Jon Rauser, founder and president of The Rauser Agency.

As his agency faces increased competition from larger agencies, the move will give Rauser’s business access to the resources and competitive advantages of a larger agency, he said. The six Rauser employees remaining with the firm will join Robertson Ryan.

“I move from a staff of six to 200-plus, get immediate upgrades in technology and services,” he said. “It was a tough decision to make the change, but everybody who has done it before has raved about how things have worked for them, and I wanted to be a part of that.”

The Rauser Agency will maintain its office in Mequon.

Robertson Ryan has grown from 28 insurance agents in 2001 to more than 94 in 2018, with more additions expected this year, said CEO Chris Illman.

“We are very pleased to welcome Jon to the team at Robertson Ryan,” Illman said. “He has a proven knowledge base in health care and benefits insurance and has served as a change-agent and leader in our local industry.”

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.