After 95 years of serving Rochester and southeastern Minnesota, a local insurance icon is joining forces with two other companies.

The C.O. Brown Agency is merging with Johnson McCann, of St. Paul, and the Apollo Insurance Agency, of St. Cloud, to become Minnesota’s second-largest private insurance firm.

What does this mean for C.O. Brown’s longtime clients?

“The local C.O. Brown team will stay the same. We’ll maintain the local name, though we will do some global branding,” C.O. Brown President Mark Hayford said. “We have no plans for changes to any of our offices at this time.”

The Rochester-based agency has about 75 employees on staff in six offices in Rochester, Austin, Kasson, Lake City, Mankato and Red Wing. Apollo, which has offices in St. Cloud, Albany, Melrose, Alexandria and Monticello, was previously an affiliate agency.

So it is basically business as usual, just ramped up with more of everything under a new umbrella.

“This gives us a broader platform. In time, we’ll be able to offer more specialty commercial services,” Hayford said. “We’re looking to expand some in the future and add new positions, like a director of wellness.”

Hayford said his team was working on this complex merger for much of 2012.

Pat McCann, the overall president of the new group of agencies based in St. Paul, stated in the announcement the combined strength of the three firms means they now will be able to offer:

  • A full-service property and liability division
  • A health and wellness division
  • More clout in the marketplace

Originally Published in The Post -Bulletin of Rochester, MN

Original Article can be found at http://www.postbulletin.com/business/heard-on-the-street-c-o-brown-joins-forces-with/article_ba181ea4-d3ef-5351-a23e-0c60c21e3f38.html

Author Jeff Kiger