To celebrate its milestone year, Higginbotham is putting a renewed spotlight on the keys to its success: culture and community.
“Our 75th anniversary is dedicated to celebrating with our employees and giving back to the communities that have been so generous to us in our presence, which today spans 15 states and 87 offices,” said Rusty Reid, CEO of Higginbotham ( in the picture).
Today, Higginbotham is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in the United States and the largest in Texas by revenue. It was named to Insurance Business America’s Top Insurance Employers List for 2022.
The “Day Two” difference
Once a family business, the organization is now proudly owned by its more than 2,400 employees, most of whom are direct shareholders. According to Reid, the employee ownership scheme aims to reward and motivate Higginbotham’s workforce.
“We started employee ownership in 1989, and it’s still the way we are today,” Reid said. “We built this organization for the benefit of our shareholders, who happened to be our employees.
“Not only has this allowed us to retain wonderful employees, but it has also attracted incredible talent to serve our customers.”
Reid joined Higginbotham in 1986 from the American General Fire and Casualty Company and has since led the brokerage business through decades of change and growth. Under his leadership, the brokerage firm established a financial services division to provide employee benefits.
However, according to the CEO, what really sets Higginbotham apart in today’s market is its “Day Two” services, which are designed to support clients through risk management, claims, benefit plan services and administration.
“The idea is that our job on day one is to provide a client with the absolute best coverage, cost and cash flow options,” Reid said.
“Then we use risk management, compliance, communications, contract review, technology…all the things that go beyond providing a policy. We have found that this solution has improved our customer retention rate and significantly improved our ability to win customers.”
Celebrating 75 years of growth and beyond
In 2007, Higginbotham launched an aggressive merger and acquisition strategy that spread to Texas and eventually the United States.
Over the past year, the company has continued that expansion as it ventured into new states and expanded its presence in others.
According to Reid, growth won’t slow down anytime soon and will continue to be driven by Higginbotham’s values.
“We implemented what we call our ‘Best in Texas’ strategy to align with our mission and vision to be the best place to work for employees, the best customer representative, the best transportation partner and the best community partner. and we’ve stayed true to that,” Reid told Insurance Business.
“We don’t just want to buy revenue to buy revenue, we’re really looking for great partners. 98 percent of our partners are much larger today than they were when they joined us. For me, that means ticking the box that it works.”
At the same time, Higginbotham has a strong focus on “old-fashioned organic growth,” the CEO said, which involves retaining and finding new customers by bringing value to them.
“We’ve always been great as an organization at growing organically. But leveraging our Day Two platform was really important to us,” continued Reid.
Giving back to the communities
Despite tremendous success in the insurance industry, Higginbotham remains anchored in its communities through its Higginbotham Community Fund.
“We are very blessed as an organization that our growth has not stopped since 1989. The byproduct of that success is that we’re able to give back to our communities,” Reid said.
The Higginbotham Community Fund was established in 2011 to provide financial support to non-profit organizations in locations where the brokerage business operates. Employees contribute the funds and can apply for grants for the organizations they wish to support in their local communities.
The fund has raised more than $5.2 million in contributions and pledges and distributed grants to over 1,600 nonprofit organizations.
For Reid, Higginbotham’s core values of being family to its employees and being generous to its communities are the secret of its longevity and continued growth.
“Going forward, we will just keep innovating on how we can be the absolute best place to work for our people, the absolute best advocate for our customers, and the absolute best partner for our carriers,” he said.
What do you think of Higginbotham’s milestone year? Leave them in the comments below.