Consortio Group Crosses 10 Year Mark with Acquisitions, Specialty Niches and Partnerships
By Michelle Leach
Off of its 10th year, Consortio Group has grown by staying true to its name (“consortio” is Latin for “partnerships”), deepening its specialty expertise internally and through strategic partnerships, and with acquisitions, despite a start during a formidable time for the global economy.
“When we started in 2009, we were in the throes of the great recession,” said Partner John Coffey. “Through persistence and hard work, we were able to grow … Insurance can be confusing, so people in Omaha are looking for a partner and an expert to help them. Clients expect and demand that we keep up with the changes in insurance, and present them with new, good ideas to help them navigate.”
Coffey continued, of its ominous 2009 launch date: “We didn’t know any different, that made us resilient.”
Its offerings span commercial insurance, private client and risk management advisory services, and specialty programs such as cyber liability insurance.
“One of the great things we were able to do is we bought two local agencies, and they brought with them relationships with insurance companies,” Dick Coffey said. “That accelerated our market prominence. They knew who we were in our prior life, and we offered them another source of business. That was important for their continued success and insurance agents.”
John Coffey said the pace of acquisition continues in the industry, embodied by two recent notable local transactions.
“In a lot of instances, smaller agencies do not always have an exit plan,” Dick Coffey added, when addressing movement in the merger and acquisition space.
Generally, growth has been driven by the need for clients to manage risk in creative ways.
“Cyber insurance is a large concern,” John Coffey said. “Social engineering claims are when you as a customer are duped into giving out funds to a different bank account that you thought was legitimate. After you’ve examined it, you find the funds were to a bogus bank account. It requires a lot of education on the part of clients who receive such requests.”
Specialized insurance is available to protect against cyber extortion-related events, which Coffey said isn’t covered by “normal insurance.”
The Coffeys also noted how they’re getting creative with regard to driving down claims in the area of workers compensation.
“Many businesses don’t understand what drives the cost of work comp, and through software and education we’ve made these customers understand their losses are the driver of the cost of premiums, and we’ve shown them how to look at this in a little different light, and how to be much more proactive,” Dick Coffey said. “A lot of times we make projections and assist them at looking at ways where they can control their costs.”
John Coffey said these efforts could be as simple (and low-cost) as nonslip mats to prevent falls from when hydraulic fluid or other liquids drip on the floor.
“These are kind of common sense investments, but if somebody slips and blows out their knee, that affects employee morale, now they have a buddy who has to pick up the slack,” he said. “So, there are ‘hidden costs.’”
Dick Coffey also noted the firm has been very proactive relative to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and what to do in the event of an inspection.
“We help them understand what OSHA is looking for in terms of working conditions and safe practices,” he said.
The Coffeys also emphasized how OSHA fines are increasing every year, yet many workplaces have been cited more than once for the same type of event such as improper use of ladders or fall protection.
“If an OSHA inspector is driving by a worksite and sees unsafe practices going on, they can go out and start fining people,” he said. “If you’re not prepared, you can find yourself in a quagmire. So, it’s important to use a trusted advisor.”
The Coffeys indicated they have established themselves as a trusted adviser as it relates to specialty programs such as employment practices liability insurance.
“For environmental expertise, we partner with another firm and it’s a similar deal with medical malpractice,” John Coffey said. “We’ve done the same on lawyers’ and other professionals’ front. We’ve found some niches where we have success. We’ve developed our own expertise in other areas – real estate, manufacturing, health care and technology. It’s fair to say that those things don’t come about until you listen to the clients and hear what their concerns are. They’re looking to Consortio to help solve the problem, and to help them understand and manage these risks.”
Dick Coffey noted they’ve had a “reasonable amount of success” due to its active role in the Business Ethics Alliance at Creighton University, and John Coffey further isolated that they were the first insurance agency to be awarded the Omaha Better Business Bureau Award in 2017.
True to its values, Consortio Group celebrated its 10-year milestone with clients; as a gesture of goodwill, the company donated to the Siena Francis House.
“That typifies how our firm has given back to the community,” John Coffey said. “We’ve adopted families at the Ronald McDonald House, and done meals at the Siena Francis House. That’s part of the fabric of our firm.”