How Rose City Leveraged Agency Acquisition to Grow While Staying True to Their Brand

Pete Lackner and Bob Asher created Rose City Associates in 2012 by merging their respective agencies. A little less than a decade later, they were looking to sell, but they wanted to make sure their clients continued to receive the same level of service. An agency acquisition by Heffernen Network, a subsidiary of Heffernan Insurance Brokers, allowed them to do just that.


Rose City is an agency located in Portland, Oregon, focused on providing insurance and risk management for a variety of business types.  

When Rose City owners Bob and Pete began looking at options for selling the agency, they decided they needed guidance, so they hired someone who specialized in agency acquisitions. The representative secured three offers, including one from Heffernan Network. “All of the offers were very similar and would keep the agency running in the same style with no significant changes,” Bob recalls. However, Bob was familiar with the Heffernan organization and liked the reputation they brought to the table. “From my point of view, knowing their integrity made it an easy choice,” he says.


Bob and Pete wanted to make sure Rose City’s clients would continue to be taken care of with the premier level of service they had become accustomed to.

“We did not want to turn our clients over to a large national brokerage that would ultimately parcel them off to service centers,” says Bob.

As Pete explains, “We were looking for someone who believed in taking care of customers first instead of the bottom line being the only factor.”


Moving accounts over to new producer codes can always result in some challenges and extra work, but Bob says the process has been fairly smooth.

Rose City has changed ownership, but the agency kept the same location and the same employees. “Heffernan understands small agencies and how they operate,” says Pete. “They let us run our operations with little or no major change to help preserve our customers.”

Keeping the same staff and location has been important because the agency isn’t just about Pete and Bob. Jane Asher, Bob’s wife, was also an agency owner, and she manages personal lines. Kate Lackner, Pete’s daughter, is a commercial account manager. For them and for the rest of the staff, a smooth transition helped calm the worries that can accompany change.


Growth is often an essential part of success in the insurance industry, and Heffernan’s acquisition of Rose City has helped it expand. “Our ability to access additional states and markets is allowing us more opportunities to grow,” says Bob

The change in ownership has also helped Rose City become more competitive. Before the change in ownership, Rose City lost a big account they had served for more than 14 years. The client wanted to go to a risk retention group, and Rose City didn’t have a good option for them at the time. After the change in ownership, Pete called the client to tell them about Heffernan’s exclusive program. Thanks to Heffernan’s large account support, they now have a shot at winning this client back.


Immediate access to new carriers and states is helping Rose City grow, but the agency also needs support to meet its long-term goals. Heffernan offers leadership development that includes mentoring remote staff. They also provide succession guidance as leaders navigate the best way to pass their agency leadership onto the next generation.

“With Heffernan’s resources, we feel we will have much better success in training the right leader to take the agency forward with continuity,” says Bob. “Utilizing centralized Heffernan resources will allow us to eliminate some of the functions that steal time thus making it possible for the management candidate to focus on staff satisfaction, client services, and new business production,” he adds.


Selling an agency is often about finding a good fit. Rose City found an ideal fit with Heffernan Network.

“Their leadership team is phenomenal, and they’re in it for the long term,” says Bob.

“Heffernan Network really cares about doing what is best for agency owners and their customers,” Pete adds.

The team at Heffernan Network is equally pleased with the acquisition. “We are very excited to expand into Oregon. Rose City has a fantastic team with a loyal following, and we are glad that we can bring them more resources, carrier access, and support, which, in turn, will help Rose City bring even more solutions to their customers,” said John Prichard Jr., President of Heffernan Network. “We couldn’t be more excited to be working with this team,” he adds.

Are you looking for a customized perpetuation solution? Heffernan Network offers traditional agency acquisitions as well as perpetuation solutions that let you keep your existing brand and team. Ready to learn more? Start a conversation.