Peel & Holland Insurance announced its expansion through a recent merger with Riddle Insurance of Madisonville and its subsidiary, R. Barga and Company Insurance of Benton. The companies provide business property and casualty insurance, surety and bonding, family insurance, and employee benefits plans, along with workplace wellness programs. This merger, which was finalized Jan. 1, combines teams totaling 83 employees in seven regional office locations across Western Kentucky.

"Our companies are built on very similar legacies totaling 198 years of service. We have seen many changes, but this opportunity to unite is one of the most exciting ever," said Roy Riley, president of Peel & Holland. "We will continue to serve clients of all sizes in a wide variety of industries. However, our merger allows us to capitalize on our collective areas of expertise across a larger team of industry veterans. For example, Peel & Holland has a team dedicated to insuring public entities such as county or city governments, utilities, libraries and schools in nearly every county across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We also have vast knowledge to mitigate risks for the construction industry, particularly managing worker's comp costs. R. Barga and Company is well-known for its excellent service to marinas and the boating industry. Riddle Insurance has deep roots in the coal mining industry that has diversified into strengths serving agriculture and contractors. Together, we are stronger and can serve a wider client base, ensuring that they are protected, safe, and secure. It's a winning combination."

From an operational standpoint, Riley also explains that Riddle Insurance, R. Barga and Company, and Peel & Holland each will continue to function as independent insurance agencies with access to multiple carriers. This enables them to offer clients a broad choice of products and deliver highly personalized advisory services. The agencies represent thousands of insurance products and are not affiliated with just a single insurance carrier which limits a client's choices. Combined staffs, additional resources, and multiple office locations will not only expand the companies' overall geographical footprint, but also will enhance the level of service available to clients. He sees all changes as positives, stating that local ownership will remain in place, and all employees are being retained in their current roles.

Skip McGaw, president of Riddle Insurance said, "It is very rewarding to unite our agencies. After seeing how closely aligned our values and culture are, we knew this was the right thing to do. We could not be more pleased to join the Peel & Holland family of companies. Our teams complement one another very well, and I anticipate great success as we begin to collaborate."

"In considering this merger, retaining local ownership was of utmost importance. We are happy to say that the Riddle Insurance team is not going anywhere. Madisonville-area clients will still work with the same people they have come to know and trust, some over multiple generations," he added.

Mergers such as this are a common growth strategy for small to mid-size insurance agencies. The 2019 Best Practices Study conducted by Reagan Consulting and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (Big I) reports the insurance industry is currently in the most competitive mergers and acquisitions (M&A) environment in the industry's history. Agency valuations are at an all-time high. Last year, some 600 insurance agencies and brokers nationwide were acquired, according to consulting firm Ernst & Young, which expects the trend to accelerate. The Peel & Holland transaction differs from typical acquisitions because it does not involve industry giants who often take over local agencies, implementing major changes.

According to findings from the Big I's most recent Agency Universe Study, the state of the independent agency system remains strong and healthy. The number of agencies in the U.S. stands close to 36,500. The Peel & Holland merger places its combined agency among the top two percent in the nation. Nevertheless, the owners all emphasize their intent on maintaining highly personalized service at the local level as a top priority.

Keith Riley, senior vice president of property and casualty for Peel & Holland said, "There is no better way of providing insurance than through independent agents. Riddle Insurance is a company we have known for some time, and like us, they have a very high regard for the personal relationships they develop. We help clients, large and small, manage their risks and obtain the right insurance at the right price. Skip and his team have built an excellent reputation by offering a wide range of solutions to businesses in their region of the Commonwealth. They have also served the needs of many in Marshall County for over twenty years through R. Barga and Company."

"This merger integrates two great organizations together, while leaving local relationships intact. Together we will be stronger," he added.

About Peel & Holland

Peel & Holland is a privately-held independent insurance agency providing insurance products and services to businesses, individuals, employees, and public entities across 36 states. Established in 1924, Peel & Holland continues to build on a legacy of developing lasting relationships with their clients and within the communities where they do business. Peel & Holland serves clients of all sizes across a wide variety of industries. Areas of specialized expertise include agri-business, construction/contractors, churches, financial services, local government, non-profits, schools and workplace wellness programs.

The company is headquartered in Bentonwith offices also located in Franklin, Mayfield, Murray and Paducah. The company is recognized as an employer of choice, having been named one of Kentucky's "Best Places to Work" in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Peel & Holland was also named a Top 100 in the nation "Best Practices Agency" by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (Big I) in 2019. For more information or to contact a member of our team, visit peelholland.com.