- October 15, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic began raging across America earlier this year, publicly traded insurance companies and brokerages followed the path of many U.S. businesses by cutting employee pay and freezing new hiring to brace themselves for an economic decline.
Not Baldwin Risk Partners.
Instead, the Tampa-based insurance brokerage and distribution company that trades as BRP Group Inc. added positions and promoted internal staffers. Employee pay and benefits — along with bonuses — remained in place.
Company CEO Trevor Baldwin had the unenviable task of having to explain and justify those decisions to Wall Street analysts on an earnings call.
“I’m super proud of how we’ve navigated the pandemic,” says Baldwin, a Tampa native who joined his father and partners in working at what today is Baldwin Risk in 2009.
“It was a hard call to make but the right thing to do,” he says. “We believed that if we could build on and reinforce the trust of our stakeholders, it would pay off.”
In the second quarter of this year, while most of its peers reported flat or declining earnings, Baldwin Risk’s net income grew by 19%. The company’s stock price, which had slipped to $8 per share in April from $14, has since risen to about $25 per share.
Staring down analysts isn’t the only bold move Baldwin Risk has made in its eight-year history with Baldwin at the helm. Last October, the company became the first commercial insurance brokerage to go public in 18 years when its shares began trading on NASDAQ.
When the company began, it had fewer than 100 employees. Today, it has more than 800 and has enjoyed double-digit growth each year. Many of those employees are from acquisitions, companies BRP bought in various markets.
Baldwin, a Florida State University graduate who worked at HealthEdge Investment Partners LLC before joining the predecessor of Baldwin Risk, attributes the growth to a philosophy that differs from many in the industry.
“There’s a lot of private equity in the insurance space, and they tend to harvest returns over a three- to five-year period, and they sell,” says Baldwin, who’s also earned a FAA pilot's license and a captain’s license from the U.S. Coast Guard. “We want to build a forever business,” he says. “Nearly 60% of our company is owned by insiders. Our thesis was if we did what was best for all our stakeholders, success would follow and that’s proven to be true.”
City of Residence
Baldwin Risk Partners
Chief executive officer
Years on the Gulf Coast
Married with one son
What community group or organization are you most involved with?
The Tampa Pig Jig
What's the weirdest job you've ever had?
Mate on a sport fishing boat
What's your top tip for being productive?
Be organized around time management.
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be?
What's your favorite off-hours activity?
Spending time on the water boating with family
What's your favorite board game, game show or video game?
What’s your go-to delivery service? (DoorDash, Uber Eats, GrubHub, Bite Squad, etc.)
What do you use most — Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or Google Meetings?
What’s the best binge-worthy show you have enjoyed during the pandemic?
What’s the longest virtual meeting you’ve been on since mid-March?
How many times had you used video for a work meeting prior to the pandemic?
A fair amount
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned during the pandemic?
Stay focused on the long-term. Continue to make decisions in support of all stakeholders with an eye on positioning for the future.
What do you miss most about the world pre-pandemic?
What have you been spending more time doing during the pandemic?
In the pool with family
Do you prefer working from home or working from an office?
How have you kept up camaraderie with colleagues during the pandemic?
Yes, video calls help.
What’s the first thing you’ll do after the pandemic?
Travel more frequently