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Towson-based RCM&D will merge with Cleveland firm to create one of nation’s largest independent insurance brokerage firms

Towson-based RCM&D, founded more than a century ago, will merge with a Cleveland firm to create one of the nation’s largest independently owned insurance brokerage companies.

RCM&D and Oswald Cos. said Tuesday that they have agreed to merge under the newly launched corporate umbrella brand of Unison Risk Advisors. Both firms will maintain independent brands, operations and management as part of the deal, structured as a merger with most of the equity in each firm rolled into Unison. The deal is expected to close by Dec. 31.

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RCM&D, which employs about 240 people, will keep its Towson headquarters and remains committed to the Baltimore area, said Bob Cawley, its president and CEO. Besides Towson, the firm has offices in Bethesda, Richmond, Virginia, and several locations in Pennsylvania.

“We’ve looked at our organization as one of the last large remaining independent firms in the area,” Cawley said. “This was an opportunity to grow the firms and create more of a national presence.”

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Joining forces will allow each firm to better compete in a consolidating insurance industry, Cawley said. Unison will look to grow by eventually bringing other independent brokerage firms under the umbrella, Cawley said.

“We believe privately held, employee-owned firms offer a more compelling argument for client service and for attracting and retaining professional staff,” he said.

The privately held RCM&D, founded in 1885, and its subsidiary RCM&D Self-Insured Services Co., now rank as the nation’s 69th largest brokerage, according to the 2020 Business Insurance magazine’s “Top 100 Largest Brokers of U.S. Business” survey. Oswald, founded in 1893, is an independent, employee-owned firm that ranks 39th in 2019 revenue.

Once the merger closes, Unison Risk will be the 32nd largest brokerage firm and rank in the top five of privately held independent insurance firms in the country. Unison will be 100% employee-owned with more than 650 employee-owners in 12 locations throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest.

Robert J. Klonk, Oswald’s chairman and CEO, called the merger a “strategic alignment of our like-minded firms” that will enable growth through an expanded geographic footprint and each firm’s nationally recognized specialty practices. RCM&D’s clients are located mostly in the Mid-Atlantic, with some national and international clients, while Oswald focuses on the Midwest, along with national and international clients.

“This merger represents the continued strengthening of our platform for the next generation of employee-owners,” Klonk said in an announcement Tuesday.

Each company serves clients in the core service areas of employee benefits and health insurance, risk management, commercial property and casualty insurance, personal and life insurance, and retirement plan services. But their specialties are complementary.

RCM&D said it has nationally recognized industry practices in health care, enterprise risk management consulting, higher education, risk assessment for business and claims administration. Oswald’s nationally recognized practices include insurance for architects, engineers, construction, private equity and manufacturing.

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