Marking a notable, new direction in its growth strategy, Senior Market Sales (SMS), one of the industry’s premier insurance marketing organizations, has already announced a pair of significant acquisitions in September.
On Sept. 7, SMS announced the acquisition of Senior Savings Network, a rapidly growing national insurance agency and field marketing organization specializing in Medicare insurance. That came on the heels of another announcement on Sept. 3 that SMS acquired Breitenfeldt Group, a health insurance brokerage specializing in Medicare insurance.
Senior Savings Network includes a Medicare insurance agency based in South Carolina with dedicated employees and many external, independent agents serving thousands of clients nationwide with their Medicare needs.
“Founder and CEO Christopher Westfall has built Senior Savings Network into one of the most admired agencies in the industry for its revolutionary client acquisition strategies, demonstrating the power of marketing on social media and delivering insurance solutions to clients nationwide by phone, long before the pandemic forced agents to consider them,” said SMS President Jim Summers. “SMS is excited to welcome Chris and his team to the SMS family.”
Inspired by his grandmother’s battle with an insurance company over hospital payments, Westfall, a law enforcement officer at the time, founded the company in 2008. His extensive library of direct-to-consumer educational videos on YouTube and word-of-mouth referrals have fueled explosive growth.
This partnership will increase Senior Savings Network’s capabilities by giving it direct access to the SMS platform, which includes propriety technology, proven marketing systems and a comprehensive product portfolio that includes health and asset preservation solutions from top insurance carriers. Combined with the increased back-end, logistical support, the acquisition also provides resources through SMS and its parent company, Alliant Insurance Services, ultimately leading to improved customer service and the ability to serve more seniors.
Westfall, who has partnered with SMS as an independent agent for more than five years, said that in looking for an acquisition partner, his primary goal was to align his company with an organization of the highest character that would help him grow his legacy of taking care of people and doing the right thing.
“Now I feel like we’ve finally found the right partner to grow and to take better care of our customers now and in the future,” said Westfall. “And it’s the company that supported us all along the way and that felt like family. I know without a shadow of doubt that being part of SMS will empower us to make an even greater impact on our employees’, our clients’ and our agents’ lives.”
Summers said the new partnership positions both companies to benefit from their collective expertise and resources, with Senior Savings Network continuing to operate under Westfall from its North Charleston, South Carolina, offices. Westfall also will continue to offer Medicare training to agents on how to sell Medicare Supplements by phone through MedicareAgentTraining.com.
Breitenfeldt Group acquisition
With a work ethic learned from growing up on a central Minnesota dairy farm, Dennis Breitenfeldt started as a one-person agency in 1996 from his living room and the dash of his Pontiac Grand Am. Today as Breitenfeldt Group, the health insurance brokerage employs more than 50 people in eight offices serving residents of Minnesota and Wisconsin as well as some “snowbird” states with Medicare insurance, individual and family health insurance and dental and vision insurance.
“Breitenfeldt Group has built a strong reputation in Minnesota and Wisconsin over the past 25 years, becoming one of the top producers for Medicare there,” said SMS’ Summers. “Combining that talent with the strength of SMS and SMS’ relationships will create new and exciting opportunities for both companies.”
By helping future Medicare beneficiaries understand Medicare before they become members and promising to help them throughout retirement, Breitenfeldt Group has been so successful that additional support is needed to continue growing while maintaining their high service standards, Breitenfeldt said.
“We have this referral stream from our current membership that we’ll now be able to service, plus we’ll be able to provide resources for them beyond what we currently have,” Breitenfeldt said. “The capabilities that SMS brings to the table – from quoting to enrollment – and its national presence made sense to us, but ultimately it boiled down to the culture and enjoying not just what we’re doing but who we’re doing it with.”
For more than 10 years, Breitenfeldt Group has utilized the SMS platform, which includes proprietary technology, proven marketing systems, industry-leading back-office support and a comprehensive product portfolio that includes health and wealth solutions from top carriers. SMS’ Summers said Breitenfeldt Group’s experience and knowledge helping members with Medicare in the employer group space is a natural fit, given SMS’ new parent company, Alliant Insurance Services, one of the nation’s largest insurance and employee benefits consulting firms.
“Culturally, Breitenfeldt Group and SMS both believe in serving the member first and making the sale second,” Summers said. “In working together over the years, we’ve seen it’s not just words. Dennis has built a business that reflects his work ethic, his honesty and his desire to do the right thing for his members. Those are the type of people SMS is looking for in a partnership.”
SMS has more than 320 employees at its Omaha, Nebraska, headquarters, and its distribution network includes 65,000 independent insurance agents, 1,000 career agents, call centers, and a wholly owned Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) firm.