What Happens When Two Companies Combine?

Written by: Fargo Inc Staff


Growth is what we all aim for in business. Great North Insurance built an insurance agency from scratch on the foundation of strong relationships and providing a high level of service to clients. The growth Great North developed in its first nine years of business was slow and systematic. The transaction occurred between Corwin Insurance and Great North Insurance was based on a different style of growth. An agency acquisition involves immediate growth and while still very strategic, this type of business development is uniquely different than organic growth. The main focus during an acquisition is on retention of clients and building strong relationships quickly. There is a proven strategy in agency acquisitions that needs to be followed to ensure a successful transition.

Corwin Insurance made the decision to move toward selling to another thriving and locally-run insurance agency, Great North Insurance. As of March 25, Great North Insurance acquired Corwin Insurance in a mutually-advantageous venture. “What is awesome about this, in my opinion, is that both parties were locally owned and both started as entrepreneurial start-ups without a single client on day one,” explained Nick Killoran, Founder and Managing Partner of Great North Insurance.

Positive Conversations lead to Positive Business Growth
Great North Insurance was started in 2010 by Killoran and his business partner Zach Bosh. Most agencies find their beginning by either bringing over a book of business they started at another agency or buying a book of business. For both Great North Insurance and Corwin Insurance however, they started their businesses without a single customer. This, among other reasons, was why Kane Hanson, formerly the Managing Partner at Corwin Insurance, approached Killoran about acquiring their company, Killoran was excited for the opportunity.

“All the conversations we’ve conducted through this acquisition have been positive. The former Corwin Insurance team members are all really excited, which makes my job very easy,” said Killoran. Hanson is not the only member of the Corwin Insurance group who will be staying on board. Great North is bringing over six people to help with the newly expanded book of business. The familiar staff will help ensure the transition is seamless and easy for everyone involved, including the consumer. “Unless our new clients need to make a change on their policy, they don’t need to do anything due to this acquisition. If our client needs to make a change to their policy or file a claim, they can call our local agency for assistance,” he explains.

Great North Insurance

(left to right)
Nick Killoran, Founder and Managing Partner, Great North Insurance
Zach Bosh, Commercial Lines Agent and Partner, Great North Insurance
Kane Hanson, Life Specialist and Partner, Great North Insurance

More Opportunities
As a result of the acquisition, Great North will be able to offer a broader scope of life insurance policies rather than just term insurance policies they offered in the past. “Kane is very knowledgeable in the variety of different life insurance policies, offered by all our insurance carriers,” Killoran says. “He also has years of experience with helping families with estate planning concerns and assisting businesses with retention, succession and buy/sell ideas. These specific lines of business are going to be a big win for our clients and our agency due to Kane’s expertise.”

Make it Easy
Great North Insurance focuses on their customers having access to local people, whether that be in person or over the phone. If you call the office, you are not redirected to a 1-800 number. You reach someone locally in the West Fargo based office. Killoran expects this will be an advantage of their office the previously Corwin-based employees will enjoy. With a larger portion of the Great North staff dedicated to servicing accounts, their agents are able to spend more of their time doing what they love, working with people on their individual needs. “In our agency, our agents focus on writing policies and educating the client to help put the client at ease. Meeting their insurance needs is front and center during our application process. After that is done, our service team really steps up and takes that client to the next level from a servicing standpoint.”

A Great Place to Work
The service and care Great North Insurance provides their clients with was celebrated in 2016 through the acceptance of two awards: Small Business of the year from the Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo Chamber of Commerce and being named one of Prairie Business’s 40 Best Places to Work.

“We talk about our Great North Family and it’s a big deal to me. Family is a big part of what we try to do, not only professionally, but also personally,” he says. Whether it is taking care of a sick child or family member, volunteering at school or attending a special community event, Great North Insurance wants their team members to have time away from work to live their best life.

“Business isn’t built by the ownership group,” Killoran expands. “It’s built by the team that you have within the agency and the company. I feel if we have happy people working at Great North Insurance, we are going to have happy clients. If you’re smiling during your day, you are going to take much better care of the client. This will lead to better retention of our clients, which ultimately bene ts the entire team.”

Great North Insurance

Interested in visiting with Great North Insurance? greatnorthinsuranceservices.com
701-239-GNIS (4647)
675 13th Ave. E., Ste 101, West Fargo

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