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New Look, Same Great Team.

By Paul Hering, CEO, MMA West Region

clock July 10, 2017 at 9:30 AM

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Some might argue that your brand is all about your name. Companies like Apple, Google and Coca-Cola come to mind. These are all firms where the name means everything and conjures immediate images in the minds of consumers. 

For other organizations, a company name does not necessarily define the company. In customer service industries, I would argue that your brand is more defined by your people, your expertise and the value you bring to your clients. 

Here at Barney & Barney, we are about to rebrand our company, so we have been thinking a great deal lately about branding and the impact of our brand in the marketplace and on our people. For us, this is a particularly interesting discussion, given our long history in San Diego. 

A 100-Year Legacy

Our company was founded over 108 years ago, back in 1909, by two brothers, Philip and Lorenz Barney. By about 1940, there were no longer any “Barneys” involved in the organization, but the name has lived on ever since. 

For most of our history, we were purely a San Diego-based company operating from one location. In 2007, we embarked upon a successful geographic expansion and now have offices throughout California and all the way to Anchorage, Alaska. 

While the name Barney & Barney has a tremendous amount of recognition in San Diego, this is not the case in some of our other locations, such as Orange County, Los Angeles and the Bay Area. We hired an outside branding consultant to do market research for us and their findings confirmed what we already knew.

Joining Marsh & McLennan

In 2014, we made the decision to become part of Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC), a Fortune 250, publicly traded company with more than 60,000 employees in 140 countries. To say that this was a huge decision for us would be a bit of an understatement. 

Our decision to join MMC was based on a variety of factors – all of which were intended to make us a better company and community partner. As it turned out, that’s exactly what happened, and we’re getting that positive feedback every day from our clients and our employees. 

In joining MMA, we were also offered the opportunity to be the leader of the West Region for Marsh & McLennan Agency, a subsidiary of MMC formed in 2008. The West Region includes a territory that encompasses California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Alaska.  So, Barney & Barney, once a rather small San Diego-based company is now the headquarters of the West Region for Marsh & McLennan Agency with close to $200 million in annual revenues and over 650 employees in one of the fastest-growing regions in the U.S., if not the world.

Our parent company did not impose a timetable on when the Barney & Barney name would be rebranded. This is purely our decision. What we have discovered in the more than 3 years since joining Marsh & McLennan Agency is that using different names in different markets and trying to explain the relationships of those names can be somewhat cumbersome and confusing. 

A New Era Begins

So, we have decided to completely rebrand the company to Marsh & McLennan Agency by the end of 2017. 

For some of us who have been part of Barney & Barney for many years (32 years for me personally), this change is not without some mixed emotions.  I know others feel the same.  One of the things that makes us truly unique is that we are a company that cares deeply about our employees and their collective well-being. As a result, we have many employees who have been with us for decades. So, it’s easy to understand how this rebrand can create a little melancholy. 

On the other hand, this also represents an exciting time for our company, as we continue to grow and prosper and expand into new markets. Becoming part of Marsh & McLennan Agency has served as rocket fuel for our engine. In fact, we have experienced double-digit growth every year since joining the MMC family. 

A Community Partner

One of our key core values as a company has always been to give back and do good work in the community. It’s this core value that motivated us to form the Barney & Barney Foundation in 2009, when we celebrated our Centennial. In hindsight, this was a really great decision. Even with our rebrand to Marsh & McLennan Agency, the Barney & Barney name will live on in the form of the “Barney & Barney Foundation” and the good work we will continue to do in our communities.

Looking ahead, we know we will always be defined not by our name, but by the quality of our people and the great work we do for clients.  

Those of us who have been around forever can take great pride in being part of an incredible legacy associated with the Barney & Barney name. We can find solace in knowing that our name will survive in our Foundation and will continue to contribute to the community.

And oh, by the way, when it comes to our new name, Marsh & McLennan Agency, we might also find some comfort in knowing that this is also a great brand with roots dating back more than 146 years.

So, onward and upward as Marsh & McLennan Agency, with a nod to the past and a wonderful legacy in Barney & Barney, a name that will live on forever.   

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Topics: Culture, Inside MMA

Two Ways Mid-Size Employers Can Reign in Health Care Costs

By Matthew Coan, Principal, Employee Benefits Division

clock July 6, 2017 at 10:00 AM

For businesses of any size, controlling costs in this evolving healthcare environment is critical. Many smaller to mid-sized companies, however, aren’t aware of two lesser-known strategies effective at reigning in healthcare spending and regaining control.

The first is implementing a form of self-funding for employee benefits known as a captive. The second is containing prescription drug expenses by renegotiating pharmacy agreements and empowering employees to participate in cost-saving behaviors.

To find out more about these two cost-saving methods, read the rest of the San Francisco Business Times article by clicking the button below.

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Topics: Breaking News, Market Trends

The Benefits Tech Trust: A Better Solution for Employee Benefits

By Todd Bennett, Principal

clock June 26, 2017 at 10:00 AM

As a small or mid-sized business, we understand a top priority is to make your money go further. When it comes to securing employee benefits insurance, health care pricing options are typically limited for smaller groups.

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Topics: Employee Benefits

Bay Area Office Welcomes Debbie Haliday as GROW Keynote Speaker

By Jennifer Christensen, CIC, Client Manager II

clock June 19, 2017 at 10:00 AM

On May 2, 2017, GROW* hosted its 2nd Bay Area Keynote Speaker Event at Franklin Templeton Investment's San Mateo Campus. The organization was delighted to welcome Debbie Haliday, a former UCLA athlete turned coach and proud wife and mother of three. Her intimate, engaging, and humorous presentation left the audience with the inspiring message that today is everything.

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Topics: GROW

Construction Industry: Are You Ready for an Influx of Work?

By Dan Urias, Client Executive & Richard Hallett, Principal, Director of Surety

clock June 5, 2017 at 10:05 AM

Preparing for Success When New Opportunities Arise

In April 2017, the California State Legislature approved Senate Bill 1, a transportation funding bill. The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 will generate more than $5 billion annually for road repairs and mass transit. The bill addresses a $136 billion backlog of repairs and improvements across California, creating thousands of jobs, an abundance of contract work, and growth opportunities for the construction industry.

While this is great news for eager companies, is your business equipped to handle the influx of work? How can you ensure that your company is set up for success when competing for bids?

A detailed assessment of specific aspects of your operation is the best way to make sure your company is ready. With a strong handle on the following areas, your team will have the best shot at winning and delivering on opportunities created by the transportation bill.

Evaluate Your Capacity

Assess your firm’s bonding and new bid capacity to determine if your current program can support bid opportunities over the next 12–24 months. Begin discussions with your insurance broker and bonding company about pursuing projects under the new legislation and how best to prepare.

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Market Trends

MMA Partners with Beyond School Walls

By Claudette Linzey, Communications Associate, Digital Media

clock May 23, 2017 at 10:00 AM

In the spring of 2016, our Marsh & McLennan Agency's San Diego office began a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County (BBBS) through Beyond School Walls (BSW). BSW is an innovative one-to-one youth mentoring program that matches colleagues from neighboring companies with students from area schools in the professional workspace. Through BSW, youth can learn the ins and outs of working for a corporation and the educational requirements needed to achieve professional success. And most importantly, the mentoring program builds strong, supportive relationships.

Roughly twenty MMA colleagues (Bigs) were matched with students (Littles), ranging from ages 11 to 13. A BBBS staff member then managed the program on site while Bigs and Littles worked together on curriculum provided by BBBS. They also toured the office and other times just talked with one another about things like friendship, getting along with teachers, life goals, peer pressure, etc.

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Topics: Community Outreach, Culture

From One CFO to Another: Look for the Game-Changers

By Steve Berk, CFO, Marsh & McLennan Agency - West Region

clock May 15, 2017 at 10:00 AM

As a CFO, I understand the importance of vetting and selecting business partners to support the needs of a growing business. From accountants to law firms, commercial real estate brokers and banks, who you choose to do business with can have a significant impact on the bottom line, your workload and the level of risk to your organization.

When it comes to insurance, I have the benefit of understanding the business as well as the key traits CFOs should look for when evaluating and selecting a broker. The time you gain from partnering with the right insurance broker leaves you more time to focus on your core business strategies and growth opportunities for the future.

The No-Brainers

For most brokers these traits are a given, and for good reason they should be. If they aren’t core strengths, keep looking.

  • Reputation - A solid and long term reputation in your community and the industry often points to a track record of success.
  • Intellectual Capital – Experienced, seasoned and intelligent colleagues, who possess the technical insurance knowledge to guide you on what risks to cover and how best to cover them.
  • Industry Expertise – Depth of knowledge in your specific industry is key. Access to benchmarking data, trends, and industry changes are essential when evaluating your organization’s risk profile.
  • Insurer Relationships – Strong and deep relationships with insurance companies help provide the leverage you need to get the best coverage, best terms and best price available.

The Game-Changers

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Topics: Culture, Inside MMA, Leadership

Cyber Hacking Tactics: Coming From All Angles

By Mike Grant, Principal and Director of Commercial Division

clock May 9, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Cyber crime has become the new norm, with 39% of breaches targeting companies smaller than $100M in revenue [1]. And while healthcare, retail, financial and educational organizations are frequent targets, every company has data and money that the hackers would love to get their hands on. Traditionally, we’ve seen attacks ranging from hacking servers for customer information, to hacking stolen laptops, and spear phishing emails where the hacker sends an email from the traveling CEO or CFO to request a wire transfer to a specific company. During tax season, they have even been sending spear phishing emails to the Human Resources or Finance department to target employees’ W2s.

But cyber hackers are creative and they are always looking for new angles to catch companies off guard.

In the past week, two of our clients have experienced a cyber breach involving some less frequent strategies.

  • Compromising an Amazon store login and diverting funds to a new banking account
  • Spoofing a vendor’s email to request payment to a new account

It’s clear that hackers are getting smarter and using new angles to target businesses. To mitigate your company’s risk, it’s crucial to be vigilant and aware of new types of attempts to steal money and information. Be mindful and train your employees to recognize phishing emails and scams. Confirm requests for changes via a different mode of communication.  For example, if the request came in via email, then call a known number to confirm the requested change.  Beazley Insurance offers additional employee training on phishing here.

For companies seeking proven protection for their cyber, network security and privacy exposures, a Cyber/Data Breach insurance policy remains the best and most affordable insurance solution. Follow our blog to stay up to date with the latest cyber security and insurance trends.

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Topics: Cyber & Data Security, Market Trends

Team Captain of the First American Women's Everest Expedition Inspires GROW to Keep Climbing

By Jennifer Swartz, Communications Associate

clock May 1, 2017 at 11:45 AM

On April 14, 2017, GROW* which stands for Growth in Relationship and Opportunities for Women hosted the 7th Annual Keynote Speaker Event at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla in San Diego. This year, the organization welcomed Alison Levine, Team Captain of the First American Women's Everest Expedition & Author of the New York Times Bestseller On the Edge: Leadership Lessons from Everest and Other Extreme Environments.

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Topics: GROW

Trust Member Saves $180K Annually with CharterShield School Benefits Trust

By Pedro Reyes, Principal

clock April 17, 2017 at 10:00 AM

You heard right. Compared to the direct market or offers from alternative brokers, our client Community Collaborative is saving approximately $180,000 per year by joining the CharterShield School Benefits Trust. Under the trust structure, employers qualify for large group rates, regardless of their size.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Market Trends

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