The McGowan story began in 1954, when Thomas B. McGowan II moved to the Midwest from New York. Born in Brooklyn in 1911, Mr. McGowan II entered the insurance industry as a young man and rose through the ranks on the carrier side of the business. Realizing that his dream was to own and run his own business, and seeing an opportunity on the agency side, Mr. McGowan left New York behind took his family to Cleveland, and started McGowan & Company, Inc. Working out of a back-room in downtown Cleveland, Mr. McGowan II began to build and grow his dream. Soon he had expanded to the point that he needed more space, and moved the operations to a building in Fairview Park, Ohio.
After working as an attorney for several years (including on several US Supreme Court cases) his son, Thomas B. McGowan III C.P.C.U., J.D., entered into the family retail agency in 1973. Mr. McGowan II and III worked together for nearly a decade doing both personal and commercial work. It was an interesting time to join an insurance agency because of the dynamics of the insurance market. Capacity was being pulled back. Carriers were wary of writing large commercial accounts without large premiums, which priced many consumers out of the market. Nonetheless, the two worked together dynamically, and by the time Mr. McGowan II retired, the one man firm had grown into to a thriving retail agency employing 25.
A New Direction
Congress began to take note of the difficult underwriting conditions and, besieged by requests for help from its constituents (most often commercial entities and municipalities), responded to the market by enacting amendments to the 1981 Product Liability Risk Retention Act. The new legislation, the Federal Liability Risk Retention Act of 1986 (the Act), created two vehicles to assist in the purchase of liability insurance: risk retention groups (RRGs) and purchasing groups (PGs).
Recognizing the effects of the 1986 Liability Risk Retention Act, Thomas B. McGowan III set the organization on a new course; transforming the local retail agency into a National Purchasing Group and Program Manager. He imagined that the future of the company was not in selling individual policies to individual consumers, but rather in selling a class leading, innovative product and providing McGowan service to Agents across the US. Because of Mr. McGowan III’s foresight and innovation, McGowan & Company was the first company of its kind to enter the market. As one of the first groups in existence, McGowan & Company truly set the standard for what a purchasing group was and could be. The first account was written into the program in 1986.
Since that first policy was written, Thomas B. McGowan III has retired, and Thomas B. McGowan IV J.D. M.B.A has taken over as President of The McGowan Companies. Thomas B. McGowan IV (or IV as many call him) has continued to lead the company with the innovation, dedication, and service that made McGowan & Company successful. During his tenure, Thomas B. McGowan IV has focused on delivering products to our brokers which allow them to distinguish themselves from their competition, while at the same time delivering extraordinary long-term profitability to our carriers.
Recognizing that McGowan received a significant number of applications which would not fit into it “niche” program business, and in addition recognizing the need for a truly “one-stop” Managing General Underwriter, Thomas B. McGowan IV scoured the market for opportunities and, in 2005, set up Statehouse Casualty Managers in New Jersey. Headed by two industry Veterans, Statehouse Casualty was intended to be the “overflow” facility for submissions which would not fit into the programs.
Approximately two years later, McGowan & Company purchased The Windward Group for the same reason. The Windward Group brought expertise into the company and expanded the retail network through which McGowan could distribute its products.
Seeing that the Professional and Management Liability was a specialty market which needed a highly skilled group of underwriters, Mr. McGowan IV partnered with two industry veterans to form McGowan, Donnelly, and Oberheu LLC.
In 2011, in order to avoid confusion in the Marketplace, McGowan and Company rebranded itself as “The McGowan Companies.” The McGowan Companies are composed of McGowan Program Administrators (The former McGowan & Company, Inc.), McGowan Excess & Casualty (a merger of Statehouse Casualty Managers and The Windward Group), and McGowan, Donnelly, & Oberheu (Professional Liability Risks).
On May 1st, 2012 The McGowan Companies purchased the assets of Allied Insurance Brokers, Inc. (“Allied’) which is headquartered in Marriottsville, MD. Founded in 1996, Allied is a managing general underwriter specializing in writing package programs for commercial real estate, apartments, condominium associations, and religious organizations. By combining forces with Allied, we have created a “one-stop” shop for our brokers to obtain the finest insurance products for Commercial Real Estate, Apartments and Condominium Associations.
On April 23rd, 2013 The McGowan Companies purchased assets of Governmental Underwriters of America, Inc (GUA). Founded in 2006, GUA was known throughout Ohio as the premier of Public Entity insurance (municipalities and school districts). GUA now operates under the newly formed “McGowan Governmental Underwriters” (MGU) brand. The formation of the “McGowan Governmental Underwriters” brand consolidates all of McGowan’s Public Entity operations into one facility. MGU’s Umbrella products are available in all 50 states, while MGU’s package products initially will be available in OH and PA (with more states coming soon).
On July 1st, 2013 The McGowan Companies purchased the assets of Professional Risk Placements, LLC (“PRP”). Established in 1996, PRP headquartered in Eatontown, New Jersey was one of the pre-eminent writers of Professional & Management Liability on the East Coast. PRP now operates under the newly-formed “McGowan Risk Specialists” (“MRS”) brand. McGowan Risk Specialists is a wholesale brokerage that focuses on the placement of all Professional Liability, Management Liability, Media/Technology, Environmental, Medical, and other Miscellaneous classes.
On March 1st, 2014 The McGowan Companies has purchased the assets of Breed’s Hill Insurance Agency (Breed’s Hill). Established in 1996, Breed’s Hill was one of the largest and most respected Managing General Agency’s in the New England habitational market. Breed’s Hill now operates under the McGowan Risk Specialists (MRS) brand. The MRS Boston office will be a facility dedicated to Real Estate that is placed in the Excess & Surplus Lines market. The initial product offerings include Property, General Liability and Equipment Breakdown for all classes of Real Estate.
In March of 2016, The McGowan Companies purchased a specialty book of business from an undisclosed national home guaranty company. The acquisition added to McGowan’s existing Professional Liability E&O programs for real estate agents, property manager and appraisers.
Also in 2016, The McGowan Companies purchased certain assets from an undisclosed regional retail insurance agency comprised of commercial P&C book of business and staff focused on the amusement space (carnivals, family entertainment centers, arcades, amusement parks, water parks and skating centers). Now known as McGowan Amusement Group – we have since become one of the leading writers of amusement and related risks in the U.S.
In 2017 McGowan purchased the assets of North American Professional Liability Insurance Agency, LLC (“NAPLIA”) a leading Program Administrator providing E&O coverage for accountants, bookkeepers and CPA firms. NAPLIA has since been rebranded as McGowan Program Administrators (“MPA”) and has enjoyed exponential growth since becoming part of the McGowan family.
Also in 2017, The McGowan Companies purchased certain assets from an undisclosed regional retail insurance agency comprised of personal and commercial lines insurance for professional athletes, entertainers, sports agencies, and other sports entities. Known as Professional Athletes & Entertainers (PAE) – it has become one of the leading writers of insurance in the sports and entertainment space.
In 2018 McGowan purchased New Empire Group, Ltd.’s Property Managers E&O Program. Under this agreement, McGowan will become the program administrator for this program, effective 2/1/2018. McGowan is one of the leading underwriters of Professional Liability (“E&O”) for Property Managers in the U.S. Its program provides specialized coverage to thousands of real estate professionals.
Also in 2018, The McGowan Companies purchased the assets of Edgewater Holdings, Inc. which specializes in working with insurance brokers to develop “private label” D&O, E&O, EPLI, Cyber, and Workers Compensation programs. Now rebranded as McGowan Program Administrators (“MPA”) – Franchise Programs & IT Based Distribution – we are a leading writer of D&O, E&O, EPLI, and WC programs for franchise systems, particularly in the Hospitality/Restaurant space.
As a family owned, privately held company with Midwestern values and very long term perspective (decades not months or years) – McGowan’s approach to acquisitions and integrations is very different than our publicly traded and private equity backed peers. If you’d like to learn more about our unique approach to acquisitions and integrations – please contact our Director of Acquisitions – Brett Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The McGowan Companies have remained stable, reliable, and versatile in a volatile and ever-changing marketplace. Our companies’ success was founded on providing the finest service in the industry. We still aspire to that level of service today. We hope that you are able to discover the benefits of working with McGowan, and become one of our long lasting relationships, so that when you think insurance, you Think McGowan.TM