Iselin-based World Insurance Associates gets $1B boost from Goldman Sachs

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Goldman Sachs Asset Management is investing more than $1 billion into one of the fastest growing insurance brokerages in the country — World Insurance Associates of Iselin.

WIA currently has a total enterprise valuation of approximately $3.4 billion.

In a Tuesday announcement, Goldman Sachs said it is joining Charlesbank Capital Partners, which first invested in WIA in April 2020, as co-lead equity investors for World’s next chapter of growth to lead a significant subordinated debt financing that will support continued acceleration of World’s acquisition strategy and organic expansion.

WIA’s management team and employee shareholders will remain major investors, alongside Charlesbank and Goldman Sachs.

“We are extremely excited to have a leading global financial institution like Goldman Sachs join Charlesbank at this juncture in our partnership,” Rich Eknoian, WIA’s founder and CEO, said. “The major investment Goldman Sachs is making in World will be an accelerant for us, and we intend to take full advantage of it. As we continue to aggressively execute our growth plan, this is momentous affirmation that our unique, integrated business model is working.”

“Rich and his team have done a fantastic job growing World over the past few years, creating a leading and integrated platform with a broad set of attractive client offerings. We believe our investment and access to both the insurance and wealth management capabilities within Goldman Sachs can help propel the company over the years ahead,” Anthony Arnold, managing director in private equity at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said.

Since its founding in 2011, and accelerated by Charlesbank’s original investment three years ago, WIA has driven industry-leading growth through a combination of acquisitions and organic initiatives. WIA has become a diversified, national brokerage platform of scale with more than $500 million in revenue across three leading and complementary business lines of retail insurance, wholesale insurance and retirement/wealth advisory.

“We have enjoyed a terrific partnership with World over the last three years and want to congratulate Rich and the entire World team on all their accomplishments. They have consistently impressed us by overdelivering on their ambitious vision and driving industry-leading growth. We believe the company is well-positioned for further success and are excited to welcome Goldman Sachs as an investment partner,” Michael Choe, CEO and managing director at Charlesbank, commented.

“While this marks a milestone for our investment in World, we are equally enthusiastic for our next chapter as co-lead investors with Goldman Sachs. World has made extensive investments in management, technology, service operations and resources, becoming a fully integrated brokerage platform that is poised to benefit from industry tailwinds. We’re eager to continue collaborating with Rich and the team as they build on World’s differentiated operating model and impressive trajectory,” David Katz, managing director at Charlesbank, added.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter. After closing, Charlesbank and Goldman Sachs will have equal representation on the World board of directors.

Evercore Group L.L.C. and Piper Sandler & Co. served as financial advisers to WIA. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP provided legal counsel to WIA and Charlesbank. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC served as financial adviser, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP provided legal counsel to Goldman Sachs.

WIA has more than 2,000 employees in 260 offices across the U.S., serving more than 300,000 clients under the value proposition to provide clients with large-scale resources along with personalized service.