Update: BB&T to Acquire Regions Insurance

Update: BB&T to Acquire Regions Insurance

BB&T Corp., a financial services holding company based in North Carolina, announced Friday that its insurance brokerage subsidiary, BB&T Insurance Holdings Inc., would acquire Regions Insurance, which has a large presence in Arkansas.

Regions Insurance is a subsidiary of Regions Financial Corp., the Alabama holding company that also owns Regions Bank. It has more employees in Arkansas than any other insurance agency — 162 in offices in Little Rock, Fayetteville and Fort Smith, according to information provided to Arkansas Business in November.

David Linhardt, the area executive for Regions Insurance in Arkansas and Texas, told Arkansas Business that the branding of the Arkansas operations would change, but what the new name will be hadn't been announced. BB&T has no banking presence in Arkansas - "We'll become that footprint," he said - so the BB&T brand is not familiar in this market.

BB&T Insurance Holdings also owns an agency called McGriff Seibels & Williams, so Linhardt said it's possible Regions Insurance could be rebranded as McGriff.

"Regions Insurance significantly adds to our retail insurance network, providing us the opportunity to further build out our footprint in core BB&T markets across the Southeast," BB&T's Chairman and CEO Kelly S. King said in a release announcing the deal. "With this acquisition, BB&T increases the contribution from our insurance brokerage business to almost $2 billion in annual revenue and further affirms our commitment to growing the business."

While Regions Insurance represented only about 2 percent of Regions Financial's revenue, Linhardt said insurance is about 20 percent of BB&T's business.

Terms of the sale were not included in the announcement, but insurance agencies command attractive prices in the current market. "Valuations just keep getting pushed up higher and higher, which leads to consolidation," Linhardt said.