Integrity Marketing Group has made plenty of acquisitions in recent years, but this one’s a bit different—and bigger.
Dallas-based Integrity, a leading distributor of life and health insurance, and provider of wealth management and retirement planning solutions, announced July 27 it has entered into an agreement to acquire Annexus, the foremost independent insurance and financial product design and distribution company.
As part of the transaction, Ron Shurts, Co-Founder and CEO of Annexus, will become a Managing Partner in Integrity. Previous Annexus investors, including funds managed by Blackstone, will sell their interests as part of the transaction. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Annexus is an influential industry pioneer that develops financial and insurance products — including fixed indexed annuities (FIA) and indexed universal life insurance policies (IUL) — for leading insurance companies. In addition to product development, Annexus provides a full range of marketing, technology and illustration systems to its distribution partners.
The company’s innovative FIA and IUL products are designed to help Americans make the most of their retirement assets. They are developed with extensive input from carriers, as well as leading actuaries and asset managers, and they are distributed through an elite group of advisors and financial professionals.
As former financial advisors and life-long industry innovators, Annexus Co-Founders Ron Shurts and Don Dady bring a specialized understanding of client needs and expectations to their product design. Since its founding in 2006, Annexus has served over half a million Americans with their retirement needs. In 2022, Annexus expects to place approximately $7 billion in annuity premium and $150 million in target life insurance premium.
“At Integrity, we are passionate about holistically serving the life, health and wealth needs of Americans to ensure they have the best solutions and coverage for every stage of life, including retirement,” said Bryan W. Adams, Co-Founder and CEO of Integrity. “Since its founding, Annexus has been the market leader in developing annuity and life insurance products with the highest level of service in the industry. Joining the Integrity platform will provide the experienced team at Annexus with a comprehensive suite of technology, resources and support to layer on top of their already exceptional systems and processes. The partnership will give Integrity access to Annexus’ deep product development and distribution partnership expertise, which will greatly enhance our mission to help more Americans prepare for the good days ahead. It’s an ideal match that will elevate the way insurance and financial planning products are developed and distributed — we can’t wait to get started!”
“We created Annexus around a unique vision to revolutionize product development and delivery in the annuity and life insurance space and provide better solutions to our stakeholders. Likewise, Integrity has transformed insurance distribution, wealth management and retirement planning by assembling an unsurpassed network of industry leaders and legends who are innovating every part of the industry,” said Shurts. “By leveraging our respective strengths, we see unbelievable growth potential for both of our companies. Carriers, advisors and clients need the products and services we provide more than ever. When it comes to improving lives, there is no finish line. We’re committed to helping every American enjoy a safer and more secure retirement, and partnering with Integrity will help us amplify and accelerate toward that goal.”
The Integrity platform, the company said in a statement announcing the deal, creates unprecedented opportunities for collaboration where leaders are thoughtfully innovating every aspect of life, health and wealth protection. Visionary companies across multiple industries are choosing to align their expansive success with Integrity.
“When two innovators of this magnitude come together with a common goal, everyone wins,” said Tom Dempsey, Chief Distribution Officer at Integrity. “Ron Shurts has always been one of the hardest working, most respected leaders in the industry. Every move he makes is with the intention of improving lives — those of his coworkers, his carrier and financial services provider partners, and ultimately, the consumers who receive better outcomes from the products Annexus designs. With Annexus at our side, Integrity will be able to provide an even wider range of retirement solutions to meet the essential needs of the rapidly growing senior market. This partnership reinforces Integrity’s commitment to improve retirement planning for all Americans.”
Through Integrity’s platform, Annexus will gain access to a breadth and depth of proprietary technology and resources. These include industry-leading real-time quoting and enrollment systems, customer relationship management software and ongoing product development. Integrity partners are supported by a substantial infrastructure that streamlines business services and administration. Services include areas such as People & Culture, Technology & Innovation, legal and compliance, and access to Integrity’s world-class advertising and marketing firm.
Enhancing all these benefits is the opportunity for Annexus employees to enjoy meaningful company ownership through Integrity’s Employee Ownership Plan.
“Connecting Integrity’s vast scope and scale with the expansive products we’re developing is very exciting — equally important is the alignment of cultures,” added Don Dady, Co-Founder of Annexus. “Annexus and Integrity both value hard work, creativity and putting people first. Integrity’s Employee Ownership Plan was an important aspect of this partnership. Our talented and hardworking employees are key to our success, and the chance to own a piece of a dynamic and forward-thinking company like Integrity unlocks untold potential value for all our team members. We’re incredibly excited about what the future holds with this partnership — it’s a win-win for everyone.”
Integrity develops products with carrier partners and markets them through its distribution network of agencies, brokerages and RIAs throughout the nation. Integrity’s nearly 6,000 employees work with almost 500,000 agents and advisors who serve more than 11 million clients annually. In 2022, Integrity will help carriers place nearly $20 billion in new sales and oversee more than $20 billion of assets under management and advisement through its RIA and broker-dealer platforms.
“Our mission has always been to help consumers make the most of what life brings in a more holistic way, and to do so, we’ve partnered with some of the most trusted and respected names in the business,” said Steve Young, Chairman of Integrity’s Board of Directors. “The Annexus team have been pioneers in designing industry-leading retirement planning products and services for decades. By bringing their expertise into our Integrity family, we’ll help more Americans save and retire with greater independence and security. This partnership signifies a new era not just for Integrity and Annexus, but for the industry itself. I believe it’s a moment we’ll look back on as transformative in the years to come.”
For more information about Annexus’ partnership with Integrity, view a video at www.integritymarketing.com/Annexus.