SOURCE: EPIC (Edgewood Partners Insurance Center)

EPIC (Edgewood Partners Insurance Center)

August 26, 2010 10:30 ET

EPIC and Industry Veterans Sponsor Launch of Wholesale Trading Co-Op LLC

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - August 26, 2010) -  Edgewood Partners Insurance Center ("EPIC") and one of its co-founders John Hahn and industry investor Jeff Cappel announced the formation of Wholesale Trading Co-Op Insurance Services LLC ("WTC"), a boutique wholesale brokerage firm that will serve approximately 30 of the largest privately-held retail insurance brokers in the US. The firm will be owned jointly by its retail insurance broker members, WTC executives, its sponsors and select financial partners, including Islington Holdings LP, the investment firm managed by Mr. Cappel. WTC will begin placing business by the end of 2010 with 5-7 founding retail insurance broker members. 

WTC will work directly with its retail insurance broker members to develop a comprehensive placement strategy to better serve clients, increase transparency between the retailer broker and specialty insurance markets, reduce frictional costs, and develop exclusive programs and binding authority facilities for its owner members. Initially offices will be located in San Francisco, New York and Atlanta. Midwest and Texas locations will be added in 2011. WTC will be independently operated and will be managed by a leadership team with extensive wholesale brokerage experience. 

"Unfortunately, the wholesale brokerage industry as we know it today is plagued by fragmentation, a low retention of business and resulting high transaction and acquisition costs," notes John Hahn, the co-founder and President of EPIC and formerly the CEO of Tri-City Brokerage. "The WTC approach aligns the financial and business interests of the retailer, wholesaler and specialty market in a manner that gives the client the best market alternative and reduces the frictional costs. Everyone wins." 

Dan Francis, co-founder and CEO of EPIC, commented, "WTC is a great win for EPIC and the other retail brokers. We will increase our knowledge of our specialty book of business, consolidate our use of intermediaries, increase transparency with specialty markets and add to our profit margin in the process. As wholesalers scramble to keep business on the books, service and transaction expertise have gotten lost. The recent consolidation has caused real headaches for our brokers, and clients and we welcome the stability that will come with an alternative like WTC."

"The business case for WTC is compelling," commented Jeff Cappel, a long-time investor in insurance distribution and former investment banker. "The best analogy I can think of is the original investment banking partnerships where the banker worked directly with clients to provide advice to solve problems and then executed the transactions that were needed. Unfortunately, the investment banks got so big that they lost touch with their clients. In the wholesale insurance business, today the best brokers are chasing business while at WTC, the best brokers will be transacting business for our member owners."

"As word of WTC has spread among wholesale brokers in the industry, the response has been overwhelming," commented Mr. Hahn. "We have a long-list of individuals who have a strong interest to get back to serving their clients as part of our comprehensive, partnership approach to the business. It is very exciting to see things come together, both for EPIC and our fellow retail broker owners, and also for wholesale brokerage professionals who will be joining WTC. We expect to announce several hires in the coming weeks and name a CEO by the end of the year."

WTC is now licensed in all states and expects to begin transacting business by year-end 2010. 

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