My emotional rollercoaster reaches solid ground
BY AMY EVANS
In October 2021, my employee benefits agency was acquired by Shorepoint Insurance Services, an Acrisure agency partner, and I joined Shorepoint as an associate VP of Employee Benefits. My plan was not to retire but to work with a larger group offering more resources for my clients and an opportunity to further my career. California Broker Magazine’s editor asked me to write about my experience in a four-part series. In my last installment, I shared my process for finding the right buyer. In this fourth and final installment, I’ll share some of the emotions I went through during the acquisition process, and some things to keep in mind if you are considering your own sale.
Many people advised me that selling my book of business would be a stressful process. I experienced a huge range of emotions during the year that it took to identify a buyer and finalize the sale, including:
- Excitement – that I had clarity on the next phase of my insurance career
- Overwhelm – when an entire acquisition team started requesting information during the due diligence process and I needed to respond to them quickly while continuing to handle the day-to-day requirements of my agency
- Defensiveness – when the acquisition team reviewed my financials and asked me (reasonable) questions that required me to articulate decisions I made about my business
- Frustration – over last-minute document requests from the buyer that delayed the closing, and dealing with an uncooperative business bank that had trouble producing confirmation of a paid-off loan
- Insecurity – when I had to hold my own with attorneys, financial analysts, compliance experts and others on an experienced corporate acquisition team (hello, Imposter Syndrome)
- Pride – that I built something from the ground up that had value and was worthy of being purchased
- Elation and relief – when the deal finally closed
Overall, the entire process was an emotional rollercoaster. I reminded myself constantly that this was the biggest business deal I would probably ever make, and so the emotions were reasonable and warranted. For the buyer, this was something they did hundreds of times each year, and everyone I was working with was handling multiple acquisitions at the same time, so I couldn’t expect them to have the same level of intensity that I did. It was very helpful and reassuring that everyone I worked with during the process was kind, patient and encouraging, which solidified my decision. I also brought in two professionals who represented and supported me. My financial advisor and my business attorney guided me through the process, looked out for my best interests, and made space for all of my questions (and some of my emotions). When I didn’t understand a term in a contract, my attorney explained it. When I wanted to run numbers and projections, my financial advisor reviewed them. Having my own team helped me to feel like I was on solid ground throughout the process. And after the acquisition, there were more new emotions to experience.
- Feeling accountable to an organization for my sales wins and losses.
- Wanting to be accepted and liked by my new team and feeling like the “new kid.”
- Looking for new ways to build credibility and maintain
- Going from an environment where I had all of my systems and processes in place, to one where I had to start over and learn new systems and processes.
But the most significant emotional impact of the acquisition was the one I didn’t see coming — the ways in which I feel re- energized and re-engaged with my insurance career. I have new value I can offer to my clients in the form of improved service, additional lines of coverage and stronger carrier relationships. I have new opportunities to generate revenue. I have a team of really smart people who are invested in my success, who share my wins and losses, who have strategies and solutions that make me a better broker. Rather than using the acquisition as an exit ramp, I have used it as a launching pad for a new phase, and I couldn’t be happier.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on my agency acquisition, and that it has given you some things to consider if you are positioning your own agency for sale.
AMY EVANS has more than 20 years of experience in the health insurance industry simplifying employee benefits for employers and their employees. In October 2021, her insurance agency was acquired by Shorepoint Insurance Services, an Acrisure Agency partner, and is now operating under the Shorepoint name. As an associate vice president with Shorepoint, Amy works with employers to help them navigate the complex world of employee benefits, business insurance and risk management.
Amy is passionate about empowering professional women to network more effectively. In 2019, she started The AlignWomen Podcast, which features female entrepreneurs, leaders and other professionals who have demonstrated agency and innovation in their personal and professional lives.
Amy is a frequent speaker, writer, podcast guest and social media participant and you can find her engaging regularly on a variety of topics including health insurance issues, entrepreneurship, social media strategies, women’s empowerment and networking with intention.
Contact: 1 (323) 633-2263