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Ascension Insurance: Building Through Acquisitions

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Len Kline and his business partners, the private equity firms Parthenon Capital and Century Capital Management, had an ambitious goal when they created Kansas City, Mo.-based Ascension Insurance in late 2007. They would grow Ascension from zero revenue to $200 million in five years by acquiring select agencies in dynamic areas of the country.

In an interview with Insurance Journal's Stephanie K. Jones, Kline, the company's president and CEO, acknowledged that the economic downturn that occurred after Ascension made its first acquisition in January 2008 added unexpected challenges. But so far the company is on track. Its tenth agency acquisition in July 2009 -- 18 months or about one-third of the way into the projected timeline -- brought the company's revenues up to around $70 million, or approximately one-third of the way to the monetary goal.

Here, Kline discusses the current environment of mergers and acquisitions among independent insurance agencies, the sustainability of the agency system, fundamentals for growth, and more.

For more on Ascension Insurance and Len Kline, read "From Zero to 200 in 5: The Rise of Ascension Insurance". The article is also on page 10 of the Jan. 11, 2010 edition of Insurance Journal - Midwest Region.

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