Reinsurance broker Holborn Corp. said it's merged with family-owned Minnesota-based reinsurance broker W.J. Lehrke Co.
It's the first merger for Holborn since it was launched in 1920, said Holborn Chief Executive Officer Frank T. Harrison. "It's a special opportunity, a very unique one," Harrison said. "This brings us a rock-solid book of business, 10 people and a strong footprint in Minneapolis."
Lehrke has a similar culture to Holborn, and are "fierce client advocates," Harrison said. "The No. 1 reason any client trades with Holborn is they want to be a big fish in a small pond with experienced hands handling their accounts day in and day out," he said.
W. J. Lehrke Co. has provided reinsurance brokering and risk management advisory services to insurers across the Midwest since it was founded by Walter Lehrke in 1973, Harrison said. Lehrke's insurance clients are mostly regional mutual insurance companies, a demographic that Holborn also likes to serve. "It's nice to take a group of clients off the prospect list and put them on the client list," Harrison said.
The combined firm is operating under the Holborn name, and all current Lehrke personnel will consolidate with those in Holborn's Minneapolis office headed by Tom Frank. Thomas Lehrke, president of the firm founded by his father, assumes the title of executive vice president of Holborn.
Harrison said he wished there were more small, independent brokerages in the world like Lehrke. "But it's a pretty small field," Harrison said.
New York-based Holborn is an independent reinsurance brokerage firm that was founded in 1920. Through the adoption of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan during 1998, it became exclusively owned by its employees. Earlier this month, Holborn Corp. acquired an ownership stake in Stonybrook Capital. Stonybrook Capital is an investment banking adviser whose clients are in the insurance and reinsurance businesses
Recently, Holborn has been among the firms to discuss the lessons catastrophe modeling companies have learned from Hurricane Sandy. While the models used by the company fared well in the wake of the storm, Frank Pierson, executive vice president and chief production officer at Holborn Corp., said in February that models need some work when it comes to storm surge and business interruption.