Higginbotham makes big swoop

Higginbotham makes big swoop | Insurance Business America

Merger “a winning combination”

Insurance News

Terry Gangcuangco

Barnard Insurance Group in Wichita Falls has become part of Fort Worth-headquartered financial services group Higginbotham.

Rusty Reid (pictured), chair and chief executive of Higginbotham, pointed to the company’s strategic growth objectives that prioritize building alliances with agencies that embody a strong commitment to client service, employee support, and community involvement.

“Barnard Insurance Group has been family-owned and operated since 1931,” noted Reid, whose camp has an existing office in Wichita Falls. “They have accounts that are 60 years old, and a wall in their office that celebrates team members who’ve been on board for 30 years or more.

“They have terrific relationships with insurance carriers and irreplaceable expertise in the energy industry. Best of all, we already know them and know we’re going to enjoy working with them.”

Echoing the sentiment, managing director John Barnard highlighted the deep-rooted familiarity between the two offices, which he believes has fostered a uniquely amicable and productive collaboration.

“Rusty likes to say about future partners, ‘Would you have Thanksgiving dinner with them?’” Barnard shared. “Well, we’re past that point with the Higginbotham folks. I used to be next-door neighbors with the managing director here, and our kids go to school together.

“We’re committed members of the same community, so in a way, we’re already a team. Now we get to take that teamwork to the office as well.”

Sharon Hubbard, office manager at Barnard Insurance, provided insights into the transition’s immediate benefits, noting the seamless idea exchange that has already spurred enhancements in service offerings.

“We had a group from Higginbotham over last week, and everybody was talking to everybody about new systems and new ways of doing things,” Hubbard noted.

“We have a lot of specialized information to share about services we’ve offered for decades, and now we get to tap into the Higginbotham resources for things like employee benefits services that we’ve never offered before. This is going to be such a winning combination.”

Barnard concluded with reflections on the broader implications of the merger, emphasizing the advantages of scale in today’s competitive insurance landscape.

“The industry has changed a lot,” he declared. “You’ve got to have a strong team behind you and a lot of insurance carriers to choose from — which means you’ve got to have the buying power of a company like Higginbotham. We’re excited for the future with this partnership because it’s going to make us more competitive and allow us to offer more value to our clients than ever before.”

Set up in 1948, Higginbotham is described as the 21st biggest independent insurance brokerage in the US in terms of revenue.

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