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Brokerage

Venbrook Serves a Niche

Brokerage finds growth in the middle markets.
By: | June 1, 2017 • 2 min read

Jason Turner started working in insurance right out of college when, at 23, he took a job at a Farmers Insurance agency run by an acquaintance. As he learned the industry, he saw an untapped market — right in the middle.

Turner convinced his dad, who ran a small surety bond business, to partner with him and open a brokerage in Los Angeles focused on serving middle market businesses that were “buying insurance off the shelf.”

Jason Turner, CEO, Venbrook Group

“Those were interesting days because really neither one of us knew exactly what we were doing,” Turner said. “Failure was not an option, so it was keep going … keep going.”

Several years and a few acquisitions later, Turner formed Venbrook Group, LLC. Today it is one of the largest independent P&C brokerages in the U.S., with more than 150 employees working on 10,000-plus accounts.

Turner remains at the helm as Venbrook’s CEO. With seven offices around the country, Venbrook offers advice, risk management, risk transfer, risk control, and risk mitigation solutions to companies with revenue between $10 million and $1 billion.

“Our sweet spot is $10 million to $100 million in revenue,” Turner said.

Venbrook offers middle market buyers the same level of insurance and risk management services along with all the resources a publicly-traded Fortune 5000 client might get from a leading brokerage house, Turner said.

The company services a select group of industries, mainly real estate, transportation, financial services, construction and development.

Recently, Venbrook added a food manufacturer with an 18-month old claim denial. Venbrook gathered the account’s lead managing director on the P&C side, a loss control person, the claims manager and then brought in an attorney to review the claim.

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“Our team came together and said this loss should have been paid, we think it’s worth challenging,” Turner said. They prepared a strong response to the carrier who then agreed to pay the $1 million claim.

Turner believes Venbrook’s role is to act as a consultant, helping clients’ businesses prosper, helping navigate through contracts or releases, and even assisting with human resource issues or ERM issues.

“We don’t look at insurance as a transaction,” Turner said. “We look at it as a strategy that every client needs to incorporate into their business.”

In October, Venbrook raised $42 million from Madison Capital Funding, a subsidiary of New York Life. A portion of that funding was then used to acquire a New Jersey-based wholesaler, Brooks Insurance Group.

“I’m proud of our company and the people we have working with us,” Turner said. “I’m proud we are still an independently owned organization, that somewhat separates us from a lot of others.” &

Juliann Walsh is a staff writer at Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Black Swans

Black Swans: Yes, It Can Happen Here

In this year's Black Swan coverage, we focus on two events: An Atlantic mega-tsunami which would wipe out the East Coast and a killer global pandemic.
By: | July 30, 2018 • 2 min read

One of the most difficult phrases to digest without becoming frustrated or judgmental is the oft-repeated, “I never thought that could happen here.”

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Most painfully, we hear it time and time again in the aftermath of the mass school shootings that terrorize this country. Shocked parents and neighbors, viewing the carnage, voice that they can’t believe this happened in their neighborhood.

Not to be mean, but why couldn’t it happen in your neighborhood?

So it is with Black Swans, a phrase describing unforeseen events, made famous by the former trader and acerbic critic of academia Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

We at Risk & Insurance® define these events in insurance terms by saying that they are highly infrequent, yet could cause massive damages. This year, for our annual Black Swan issue, we present two very different scenarios, both of which would leave mass devastation in their wake.

A Mega-Tsunami Is Coming; Can the East Coast Even Prepare?, written by staff writer Autumn Heisler, profiles an Atlantic mega-tsunami, which would wipe out lives and commerce along the East Coast.

On the topic of whether the volcanic island of La Palma, the most northwestern of the Canary Islands, could erupt, split and trigger an Atlantic mega-tsunami, scientists are divided.

Researchers Steven Ward, a geophysicist at UC Santa Cruz, and Simon Day of University College London, say such a thing could happen. Other scientists say Day and Ward are dead wrong; it’s an impossibility.

One of the counter-arguments is backed up by the statement that there has never been an Atlantic mega-tsunami. It’s never happened before and thus, could never happen here. See exhibit “A” above, re: mass school shootings.

Viral Fear: How a Global Pandemic Kills an Economy, written by associate editor Katie Dwyer, depicts a killer global pandemic the likes of which hasn’t been seen in a century.

Tens of millions of people died during the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918.

Why it could happen again includes the fact that it’s happened before. The science on influenzas, which are constantly mutating, also supports just how dangerous a threat they pose to millions of people beyond the reach of antibiotics.

Should a mutating avian flu, for example, spread widely, we could see a 10 percent drop in GDP, mostly from non-physical business interruption.

As always here, the purpose is to do exactly what insurance modelers and underwriters do; no matter how massive the event, we create scenarios, quantify possible losses and discuss risk mitigation strategies. &

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]