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Insurance Broker Hays Companies to be Brown & Brown’s Biggest Acquisition

Brown & Brown Inc. has agreed to acquire the assets of the Hays Companies insurance operations. The deal for the Minnesota-based insurance broker with $200 million in revenues marks the largest acquisition ever by Brown & Brown in its 75-year history.

Headquartered in Minneapolis, Hays Companies is comprised of more than 700 risk management and employee benefits professionals in 32 locations across 21 states. The Hays Companies focuses on risk management, commercial insurance, employee benefits, consulting services, specialty programs and private client services.

The firm is #20 on Insurance Journal’s list of Top 100 Property/Casualty Independent Agencies with annual revenues close to $200 million, with more than $90 million of that in P/C insurance.

The transaction is expected to close in November 2018.

Jim Hays formed the Hays Companies 24 years ago. Since formation, Hays, along with Mike Egan, Bill Mershon, Steve Lerum and others have helped grow the firm.

The Hays Companies name, the executive group, and account teams will not change, according to Hays.

Hays Companies will operate as a region inside Brown & Brown Retail, one of four divisions. The Retail division brought in $940 million in revenues n 2017, which was 50 percent of the company’s total.

The operations will continue to be led by Hays, as chief executive officer of the Hays Companies, and Egan will continue to serve as president/chief operating officer.

Following completion of the transaction, Hays will join Brown & Brown as vice chairman and will serve on the board of directors, and Eagan will become a regional president of the Brown & Brown Retail Segment. Eagan will continue reporting to Hays and Jim will report up to Powell Brown, CEO of Brown & Brown.

Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., Brown & Brown is one of the largest insurance brokers in the world and one of the most active acquirers of agencies. This year alone it has already done 19 deals with total annualized revenue topping $95 million.