Educate June 2017

Scarborough Insurance Scales Up

Written By: Alyssa Ramos

Scarborough Insurance has been a mainstay in the Gainesville community since 1961.

If you didn’t know the founder, Earl Scarborough, you may know his son, Rick Scarborough, who joined the business in 1972. And if you don’t know Rick, you may know Earl’s grandson, Brian Scarborough, who joined in 1996. The Scarboroughs and their agency staff have built three generations worth of relationships in this community, and now they’re looking to grow further.

On May 1st, Scarborough Insurance joined HUB International, a privately-owned firm that is the 8th largest insurance brokerage in the world. “In the world of insurance agencies, now more than ever, size matters. Joining HUB will give us greater scale in the marketplace, relationships with more insurance companies, and access to a significantly larger pool of resources and industry specific expertise,” Brian Scarborough said.  “Growing bigger with HUB will make us more valuable to our clients.”

The conversation between HUB and Scarborough began months ago, as HUB continues to grow throughout the country by partnering with successful firms. “They don’t buy broken agencies,” Scarborough said. “They buy good agencies, allow them to continue to do what has made them successful, but add capabilities so those agencies can grow at a far faster rate than they previously have achieved on their own.”

That said, Scarborough Insurance didn’t enter into this agreement lightly. The due diligence process involved great scrutiny from both sides. “Obviously, giving up absolute control and selling a family business is not an easy decision,” said Scarborough.

“I never thought I’d work for anyone other than myself, but the team of agencies that HUB has put together in Florida alone is astounding.

In talking with the former agency owners who have all remained with HUB, their staffs remain intact and they’re all having record years in terms of client retention and new business. Hearing those stories made us feel comfortable that we were talking to the right potential partners.”

As proof, Scarborough Insurance has retained their entire staff, and will remain in their same office with the same contact information.   

“They know that if they give us additional services and don’t disrupt how we treat our customers, then we, very likely, are going to grow at a more rapid rate than we have been growing organically as a stand-alone company,” Scarborough said. “And by and large, they leave you alone to provide the service that has attracted your customers in the first place,” Scarborough said.

HUB promotes the same sense of community for which Scarborough Insurance is known.  HUB has an annual day of service where individual agencies are encouraged to get out of the office and volunteer for a non-profit of their choosing. Scarborough will also continue to support the charities and organizations that they’ve been involved with for years. “In our negotiations, we made it a point to emphasize how important serving our community was to this agency’s history. One of the great things about HUB is they have the same culture,” said Scarborough. This community mindset permeates in their office as agents treat every client with the same level of proactive and reliable service regardless of their size.

“You have to keep delivering on that value proposition of reliability, advocacy and professionalism every year that you have that client relationship and treat them the same way you did when they were a new business prospect,” Scarborough said.

Scarborough Insurance’s ultimate goal is to be better agents for their customers. By joining HUB, Scarborough will gain access to new insurance markets, add leverage with the carriers they have represented in the past, and have more services to offer their clients. Above all, Scarborough credits the success of the company to its commitment to establishing the trust to build one relationship after the other.

“We’re very proud of this company. We’re proud that it’s a third-generation company,” Scarborough said. “None of this would be possible without all of those client relationships, carrier relationships, our former staff members, and the staff that we have today. We’ve worked hard to assure our staff and customers that this was not an exit strategy. This is a growth strategy for the next 50 years of this agency.” 

“By joining HUB, Scarborough will gain access to new insurance markets, add leverage with the carriers they have represented in the past, and have more services to offer their clients.”

Alyssa Ramos is a second year Journalism major at the University of Florida with a minor in French. She is an aspiring magazine journalist, a fashion enthusiast, and a Netflix binger with hopes of telling people’s stories through all forms of media. For now, she is still honing her writing skills, but she’s always in search of a good book and a strong cup of coffee. 

Photography by John Sloan

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