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A Win-Win For Agency Owners In Larger U.S. Markets Looking To Grow

SITUATION: “I could not grow my book further on my own.”

Jeff Schneiderman didn’t set out to be an insurance broker. But somehow things work out unexpectedly.

While in college, Schneiderman landed a job for a regional PPO. He started in the mailroom – but was soon moved up to the management training program. Following graduation in 1992, he went to work for the same company full time – this time in a sales role.

The PPO was then bought out by a large national carrier, and Schneiderman decided it was time to go out on his own. In 1995, he became an independent broker and incorporated a year later under the name of Summit Benefits Group, a St. Louis-based entity that 15 years later grew into a successful health benefits agency.

“At some point, however,” Schneiderman recalls, “I knew I couldn’t grow my book of business any bigger on my own. I didn’t have the necessary people resources or advanced technology. Then health care reform started gaining momentum, carriers were doing their thing – and right at that same time OneDigital Insurance called."

“Throughout my career, I struggled with managing my back office, while juggling my groups and staff,” Schneiderman says. “So I was happy to talk to OneDigital. They came in and I liked what I heard, but their focus was on buying my block of business. I wasn’t looking to sell. I wasn’t even 40 years old yet.”

SOLUTION: OneDigital's agency aquisition business model.

Time passed, and OneDigital reached out to Schneiderman again with a new business-model opportunity. Instead of buying just a block of business, OneDigital offered to buy his entire business. Schneiderman was to become an employee of OneDigital and also remain a producer.

“I’d been my own boss for 20 years and didn’t want to lose that control,” comments Schneiderman. “But health care reform was heating up. I knew I couldn’t keep up with all of the legislative changes – or communicate and educate my clients effectively. OneDigital had invested in becoming a health reform expert, which was a big selling point.”

And so, Schneiderman and his father, a seasoned health care executive who’d offered to serve as his son’s adviser, headed to Atlanta to check out OneDigital Insurance and its operations. Apparently, they liked what they saw – and the deal was finalized in a matter of months.

“The future for successful agencies is all about operational efficiencies, reform expertise and customer solutions being delivered by the best available talent,” adds Mike Sullivan, OneDigital’s chief operating officer and executive vice president. “Jeff got it. He knew OneDigital was already uniquely positioned to deliver this solution and, together, accelerate our growth and profitability.”

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