500 1st Street SE,
We at First MainStreet Insurance (FMSI) would like to wish you and yours a very happy new year and hope you were blessed this holiday season. Like last year, and seemingly many years in a row now, 2023 came and went very quickly. I am sure that many of you had a year marked with some interesting developments in the industry. Personally, I am proud of how FMSI and TrueNorth weathered this unique insurance market, put our clients first and still came through with an excellent year of growth and profit.
Oh, what a year it was! As I begin to recap 2023, it is not lost on me just how far FMSI has come as a division inside of TrueNorth Companies. The FMSI platform continues to charge a different path than so many of our competitors. Building an independent insurance agency platform has certainly come with some challenges, but through so many internal people leaning in, we are immensely proud of where we stand as we finished the year.
In our last edition of Emerge in October, we were proud to announce the addition of four new firms onto the platform. That was just a short time ago, and it has been fun to see them implemented into the system and have some fun along the way. It is awfully exhilarating to give you this update today, just a few months after our last update.
In total, FMSI acquired or merged with 15 new agencies in 2023. A number I sincerely didn’t know was possible when we founded the company just a few short years ago. With a bulldog-ish type work ethic, surrounded by like-minded and intelligent people and a willingness of agency owners to look at a new option to help perpetuate and grow their agency, the results are simply stunning. In just over 4 years, we have grown to almost 60 locations spanning four states. And—we are only just getting started!
We have partnered with two thriving agencies in State Center, IA. Alongside local owner Brad Pfantz, we have acquired the insurance assets of Eckhardt Enterprises and merged them with Pfantz Insurance Services. Both agencies will operate under one roof, with the leadership of Brad Pfantz to drive us forward. A long-time leader in his community and a second-generation agency owner, Brad and his team have strong aspirations for continued growth.
Our third agency acquisition to announce is the addition of Fish-Johnson Insurance in Waterloo, IA. With another agency nearby in Cedar Falls, we couldn’t be more excited to partner with long-time agency owner, Randy Johnson. Roots date back to 1957, when Randy’s Father (Jim) founded the agency. Good things continue to be built in this Cedar Valley area.
Also joining us via a merger is Campbell-Mellema Insurance (CMI). Located in Parkersburg, IA and led by local owner Chad Campbell, CMI will be a really nice growth engine for FMSI as we drive forward to a successful partnership. As a proud second-generation owner, big things are in store for Chad as he leads his agency forward into a new phase of accelerating his firm ahead. We will strongly embrace the legacy of this agency that was founded over 50 years ago.
Joining us at the end of the year is Van Buer Insurance in Clinton, IA. Michael Van Buer has been a constant in the landscape of insurance in Clinton for many years. Michael will join our already thriving FMSI location in Clinton, Core-Vens Insurance. This fold-in acquisition really cements our strong presence in Clinton, and we look forward to many great things in conjunction with Michael on board.
Our sixth deal we are proud to announce is the addition of Van Mersbergen Insurance. Owned and operated by Wayne Van Mersbergen, who has been with the agency for over 35 years, we are honored to announce this important partnership. Joining us in ownership is Wayne’s son, Harrison Van Mersbergen. Located in Bloomfield, IA, Van Mersbergen will join forces with FMSI’s already existing office in Bloomfield, North Side Insurance. Exciting times are ahead as we pair these two great agencies together.
“Our first step in our path towards creating the First MainStreet Insurance platform was the addition of North Side Insurance in the two towns of Bloomfield and Centerville, IA. I am very excited about the addition of Van Mersbergen in Bloomfield, it’s a fantastic addition to such an important location. It’s an honor to add more team members and more capabilities within that community.”
Our last new deal to announce is a private acquisition of a great book of business located in northern Iowa. This book brings with it a very nice client list and two talented employees. This agency will fold-in to our existing Edwards-Brandt & Associates office, located in Mason City, IA. For the last five years, Edwards-Brandt has been a stalwart of growth and professionalism at FMSI. We are happy to grow their block with this strategic acquisition.
As I conclude this edition of Emerge, I would be remiss if I didn’t send a large deal of gratitude to our entire team. Our internal team simply works their tails off as I am out rounding up new opportunities. This team is growing rapidly and doing its absolute best to jump onto this fast-moving train. Their spirit and willingness to lean in and help our agency partners navigate the inner workings of the new agency platform is infectious and absolutely something to be proud of.
Quite obviously, there is also a strong sense of thankfulness for the many agency owners who have taken the leap of faith with me and partnered with FMSI and TrueNorth. Without your commitment, we wouldn’t have a platform. It inspires me every day to do more for you all.
Flipping the page to 2024 . . .we are stocked full of an excellent pipeline of pending deal flow. Sitting back and reminiscing on our best year yet in 2023 will not be in our plans, we have plenty to do still. We will be growing our footprint, both in the four states we are already in, but also looking for some additional opportunities outside of the states we already occupy.
Again, happy new year to you all! I look forward to reconnecting with you all quite soon. As always, if you are reading this and believe a conversation might be warranted—if nothing else just to ‘kick the tires’—please do reach out to me and we can schedule a private, non-pressurized call or meeting.