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SilverStone Group Joins HUB International

SilverStone Group, the largest Nebraska-based insurance broker, recently announced that it was acquired by Hub International Limited (Hub), the fifth largest insurance broker worldwide. The transaction combines both entities’ shared expertise in employee benefits, risk management, retirement planning and wealth management, paving the way for greater localized service with a stronger global reach.

SilverStone’s history began in 1945 when H. H. “Red” and Ruth Nelson saw an opportunity in the insurance industry. What started with door-to-door sales and signing policies across kitchen tables eventually became a multi-site practice operating in four states. Its core services grew to include employee benefits, risk management and investment consulting.

Over the decades, SilverStone has established a reputation for providing unmatched customer service backed by some of the industry’s top talent. This has driven consistent organic growth for the company, becoming one of the top 50 brokers in the nation with more than 4,600 employer clients and 3,700 individual clients. SilverStone has remained employee-owned under the Nelson family’s third generation of leadership, John H. Nelson.

Becoming the Solution
SilverStone and Hub’s partnership will create a new regional operation called Hub Great Plains. Nelson will serve as President of this region, leading locations in Omaha, Sioux Falls, South Dakota and St. Paul, Minnesota. “After operating for 75 years as an independent broker, it was important to our 225 associates and 48 shareholders that we remain a private company and continue to have a significant ownership stake in the business,” Nelson shared. “This union not only accomplishes that objective, it strengthens our capabilities through access to new insurance markets, specialty expertise and technical services across most industry spectrums.”

The acquisition will provide a regional solution to an industry-wide challenge – succession and perpetuation planning. The average agency owner is 70+, and there aren’t enough young agents to buy out or take over these companies. Many are forced to sell to large, publicly traded brokers that often scale down or eliminate local operations. Hub Great Plains will provide a different option for agency owners in the Midwest by creating a combined offering of technology and technical resources that add to the almost 200 Omaha employees already providing local expertise. As a privately held company with significant buying power, Hub Great Plains will grow as acquisitions fold into its regional operation.

A Meeting of Minds
Hub has made significant investments in technology and training, which are spread across its operations. SilverStone will have access to these resources without having to make large investments or divert time away from clients. This will benefit other local companies that want access to greater resources but lack the time and funds to implement them.

SilverStone is excited to share some of its own efficiencies and resources with Hub. It has significant market data on Midwest clientele, which will play a vital role in underwriting and risk identification efforts at Hub Great Plains. Additionally, SilverStone’s employee benefits practice is the largest Hub has ever acquired. Its client-first, team-oriented consulting model has a proven track record and will continue to be the foundation going forward. Grant Matthies, who has been with SilverStone for over 30 years and will serve as Chief Sales Officer of Hub Great Plains, said, “We feel the partnership will bring value to our customers in the areas of data analytics, wellness, employee communications, regulatory compliance and pharmacy management, just to name a few. Hub will allow us to continue our current advocacy work and dig deeper into cutting costs and keeping our clients’ medical plans at the lowest price possible.”

SilverStone’s compensation and actuarial consulting practices will be valuable services offered to Hub’s clients across the country, and Hub’s technology consulting service will be a new offering that SilverStone can utilize. Matthies continued, “We are extremely pleased to be able to help our clients address their technology needs in the areas of payroll, onboarding, HRIS and benefits enrollment. From evaluation to vendor selection to implementation, this service will prove to be invaluable to those organizations looking to change or upgrade their technology platforms.”

SilverStone’s investment advisory services practice will benefit from Hub’s current investment assets under management, which exceed $82 billion. Best practices will be refined continuously as they serve a growing client base for both private wealth management and corporate-sponsored retirement plans (i.e., 401(k), 403(b) and defined benefit pension plans).

Moving Forward
Hub is dedicated to strengthening its industry and product expertise, and this transaction speaks to that goal. They’ve made a practice of buying successful, growing companies with long-term management, and then allowing them to continue what they’re doing. This acquisition approach is intentionally designed to avoid disruption and keep the positive momentum going. SilverStone is Hub’s largest employee-owned acquisition to date. Employee ownership has been a core value at SilverStone, and this will continue with little outside influence as a privately held company. Current leadership and shareholders will remain, upholding the collective sense of responsibility that has driven the firm’s success.

SilverStone Group and Hub are eager to combine their strengths and deliver the best risk management, consulting and advisory services to the Midwest and beyond. This is a promising change that will be felt on both a local and global level.

This article originally appeared in the 2020 | ISSUE ONE of the SilverLink magazine, under the title “SilverStone Group Joins HUB” To receive a complimentary subscription to the SilverLink magazine, sign up here.

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