The formative years
Assurex Global traces its history back to 1954 when a group of independent brokers formalized several years of discussion with the formation of Insurance Service Association of America, noting that “the primary advantage of a national association would be the improvement of local servicing facilities for national accounts.” Twelve brokers in the U.S. and Canada signed on as the original charter members, including two current Partners – RCM&D in Baltimore, Maryland, and Fred C. Church, Inc. in Lowell, Massachusetts. Within the first two years, another 38 brokers came on board, including firms in Cuba and Mexico. The 1960s brought several formative changes including the hiring of the organization’s first executive vice president, David S. Butler, and expansion outside of North America with the inclusion of the first International Associates from Europe, Australasia and South America. Also launched in the 60s were the predecessors of several key resources that are still of great value to Assurex Global Partners today – an annual operational benchmarking study, a facility for providing financing for perpetuation and acquisition, and regular educational meetings for areas such as property & casualty, employee benefits, and agency operations. In 1966, the members voted to change the name of the organization to Insurance Service Associates (ISA), in part to acknowledge the growth beyond America. In 1970, the ISA Service Company (which was the initial financing corporation founded in 1968 and owned by several of the ISA members) voted to change its name to Assurex International Corporation. The Insurance Service Associates membership approved making Assurex International the sole corporation, absorbing both ISA and ISA Service Company, with all North American members becoming shareholders of Assurex International. This launched the organization forward from being a trade association to being a for-profit service corporation.
Key growth initiatives pave the way
With the 1977 retirement of David Butler and the hiring of Robert Ashlock as the corporation’s first president, Assurex moved from Wheeling, West Virginia, to Columbus, Ohio, and began to make important and long-reaching steps forward. Always driven by supporting the growth of the independent broker Partners, Assurex launched two companies in the 1980s – Assurex Development Corporation (ADC) in 1981 to provide financing for internal perpetuation and growth and Professional Agencies Reinsurance, Ltd. (PAR) in 1986 to provide errors and omissions coverage and best-in-class quality management practices for independent agents & brokers. Tom Harvey succeeded Robert Ashlock as president & CEO in 1992. Strategic planning efforts in the mid-1990s focused on building the Assurex brand, developing Internet capabilities, and international expansion. Although Assurex was never limited to only U.S. firms and the number of International Associates continued to grow since the 1960s, a desire to significantly increase the international footprint and capabilities of the organization led Assurex to affiliate with a similar European-based organization – Synergy Group – in 1999. This in turn led to a re-brand in 2002, with the combined organization now known as Assurex Global.
A truly global company grounded in strong principles
As the international focus increased in the 2000s, the company held its first international meeting in Dublin, Ireland in 2001. Shortly after Jim Hackbarth joined the company as president & CEO in 2003, Assurex Global marked its 50th anniversary in 2004 with a gala celebration in London. In 2007, at the company’s conference in Hong Kong, the North American Partners/Shareholders of Assurex Global voted to open shareholding to all Partners worldwide, making Assurex Global a truly international organization, owned by independent brokers across the entire world. Assurex Global marked its 60th anniversary in 2014, in the home of one its founding firms – RCM&D in Baltimore, Maryland. As the U.S. celebrated the bicentennial of the Star Spangled Banner, Assurex Global Partners reflected on their shared past, celebrated their joint success, and committed themselves to achieving even more together. The principles that brought 12 independent brokers together in 1954 remain the principles that guide the 100+ Assurex Global Partners today – coming together to help each other deliver exceptional solutions to the risk management needs of each client.