Why Sunstar’s unique M&A model is attractive to independent agencies

Perpetuation planning is just one of the many mountains that independent agency owners must climb. Father and son duo Lee and Greg Lottes of Lakenan Insurance in St. Louis, Missouri, reached that peak in 2014 and they ultimately decided to sell to Sunstar Insurance Group, a financial holding company that acquires majority equity ownership positions in independent insurance agencies.

“It was a big decision for us,” said Greg Lottes (pictured), president of Lakenan Insurance and president and corporate chief operating officer of Sunstar. “We were looking at several different acquirers at the time, from the larger national brokerages to some bank-owned brokerage firms, but ultimately, we weren’t really attracted to the model they had illustrated. But when Sunstar came along, we were very interested and keen to learn more about [Sunstar chairman and CEO] Casey Bowlin’s vision.”

Bowlin founded Sunstar in 2012 as a holding company with a vision of providing financial capital, operating resources and strategic oversight to a portfolio of highly autonomous insurance agencies. Acquired agencies are able to maintain much of the independence they had prior to selling – in terms of name, branding, operations, etc. – but they’re supported by Sunstar’s unique business model, which is centered around local agency management, sales and service coupled with the enhanced operating efficiency of a common back office administrative platform.

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