Working with the Right Professional is Key
I’m not sure when it started but when I go to the dentist now, they take my blood pressure. At my last visit, I finally asked the hygienist why? She said it is good preventative care. If a patient has an elevated blood pressure, they can refer him or her to a primary care doctor.
When it comes to selling your agency, it is just as important for you to secure the right professionals for your advisory team. My dentist can tell me my blood pressure is high, but he can’t treat it.
In a previous blog, we discussed the idea of building an advisory team as a first step of the exit, or succession, planning process. We consider the following experts integral members of your advisory team; accounting or tax professional, financial planner, attorney and a Merger & Acquisition (M&A) advisor. Most agency owners have an accounting professional and financial planner they work with regularly but very few have an attorney who can assist with the sale of their business. Legal representation is such an integral role in the sale and unfortunately, it can be overlooked.
On many of our transactions, clients want to know if we also handle the legal paperwork. While we see purchase agreements daily, you need someone who solely focuses on practicing law to handle the legal aspects of a business sale. Generally speaking, the attorney who drafted your will is probably not the best person to handle the legal aspects of your business sale. You need an experienced M&A legal professional to handle the ins and outs of your transaction.
If you can find an Insurance M&A attorney, congratulations! There aren’t many attorneys who specialize in the insurance industry, so you have a rare find. Where do you start otherwise?
An attorney who specializes in Mergers and Acquisitions is your best bet. He or she will understand non compete agreements, reps and warranties, seller notes, who is responsible for pre and post-closing liabilities as well as the employee agreements after closing. If the attorney you select can’t explain all these items to you, best to keep looking.
Use the other members of your advisory team as referral sources. Perhaps, they have worked with a good M&A attorney for other client transactions. At INS Capital, we take a proactive approach in working with the other members of our client’s advisory team. While we aren’t the point person for legal matters, we work with our client’s attorney to point out certain items that are standard, or that might be unusual, from past insurance transactions we’ve completed. We can fill the insurance industry knowledge gap very easily for a talented M&A attorney.
We have yet to work with an agency owner who regrets spending the money on an experienced M&A attorney. What we have seen is the stress, increased costs and worst off all, deals die when attorneys who aren’t experienced in M&A, are relied upon to get the deal across the finish line.
As always, if you have questions contact us at email@example.com.
The information in this article is for informational purposes only.