Emerge News | May 2021

Somehow, someway, we are deep into the throws of Q2 2021 - where is the time going?

The respective paths of TrueNorth and First MainStreet continue our good fortunes despite these unique times. While the time to celebrate 2020 accomplishments has long passed, I do think it is important to hit on a few areas that contributed to our success:

  1. New Leadership—Jason Smith took the reins as CEO at the beginning of 2020. What a year he went through but was graceful in his approach, headstrong in his resolve and eager to continue to lead this company forward.
  2. Perpetuation—We have begun to transition our former CEO, Duane Smith, to his new role as Executive Chairman. Duane turned 62 at the beginning of 2020 and started his sales cycle at TrueNorth. While he remains actively engaged in much of our business practices, he has allowed his son to really step in and step up. Duane’s role in the firm is a keystone for our company and further demonstrates that we are not for sale and will continue to internally perpetuate.
  3. Organic Growth remains strong—at over 7%, we again far outpaced our peer group. Despite 2020’s many challenges, many wins came our way and organic growth remains paramount for TrueNorth.

First MainStreet Proudly Welcomes Ramsey-Weeks Insurance

Ramsey-Weeks is a fourth-generation, family-owned insurance agency that has been in the Grinnell landscape for over 95 years. Chalked full of talented people and a great book of business, First MainStreet Insurance (FMSI) executed a fantastic merger with the agency.

Led by Jim Ramsey and Darcy Swick as partners, we could not be more excited to bring on such a high-caliber agency to our firm. Paul Pohlson remains active in the business and has provided an immense amount of goodwill in the community. A former Big I President, Paul will continue to focus on his clients that he has grown so passionate about over the years. For so many years, Ramsey-Weeks has been thoroughly involved in the community, and First MainStreet will continue and enhance that presence and with the leadership of Jim and Darcy. We know we have a bright future ahead!

“We choose to partner with FMSI because they share our vision of a relatively seamless merger that will allow us to continue to deliver the level of service our customers have come to expect from Ramsey-Weeks over all these years. The FMSI platform recognizes what it means to operate in a small, close-knit community where trust and strong relationships are so important when doing business. FMSI will allow us to continue to nurture those small community values while at the same time providing us with the additional resources that are essential in order to take care of our customers’ needs in an ever-changing insurance marketplace.” – Jim Ramsey

New Administration and Capital Gains

By now, maybe you have heard that there is a new president in Washington D.C.? Being as non-political as I can possibly be, there are real changes coming to our tax code. I have read, hopefully like you have, many different pieces on what this all means. To break it all down to layman’s terms . . . taxes will be going up!

A significant increase is proposed on many fronts, but namely the capital gains tax. Currently, it sits at 20%, and it is proposed that it goes to 39.6%. This is material. This is real. Do your own due diligence, but know that in the very near future—most likely no later than Jan. 1, 2022—if you were to sell your agency, taxes will be much higher than they are today.

You can do your own math here, but any way you slice it the numbers are penal. If you are at all thinking about your perpetuation, maybe not a full retirement, now is as fine of a time to do it as there has been. The market is hot, valuations are strong, many buyers are in the space and a looming tax bill is coming our way.

Good things continue to happen at our company. Should you want to learn more, I am always here for a no-pressure conversation. If to just kick the tires or to roll up your sleeves and make a deal, I am willing to listen, learn and see what I can.

I am excited to announce a few more deals we have in the works! More to come on that in a short period of time. Stay safe out there!

Dan Driscoll
Director of Strategic Expansion and M&A


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