Brown and Brown 4Q14 Earnings Call Notes

This post is part of a series of posts called “Company Notes.” These posts contain quotes and exhibits from earnings calls, conference presentations, analyst days and SEC filings. Full transcripts can be found at Seeking Alpha

Seeing construction depending on the region

“I would tell you that we see pockets of it regionally, but as a general rule we’re starting to see more construction starts. So let me give you an example, you might think as an example Phoenix, which was an area that slowed down a lot it started growing or seemingly growing more rapidly last year early in the year and the prior year and I would tell you that Phoenix it maybe got a little ahead of itself, meaning the metro area, so they are not seeing as much growth as maybe you might have seen right out of the blocks that doesn’t mean that is not growth, but that’s an example. If you come to South Florida there are so many cranes in the sky in Miami it’s kind of unbelievable. So depending on the city and what they are building in certain areas Josh we’re seeing more rental housing apartments being built than single-family homes, those are just some broad statements.

Three ways to use cash

“What I would say is this, we are thinking about how we best invest in our business and we can return or invest in that business one of three ways as you know. We can hire new teammates of which we are doing constantly and consistently. Number two, we can go out and acquire businesses which we are doing and we had the highest year of total annualized revenue acquired last year. And then three, we are returning to shareholders either in the form of dividend increases or through share repurchases.

A little bit of color on the acquisition process

“As you know we don’t budget acquisitions and so we are always out talking to the agency community about the possibility of joining the team at Brown & Brown and as you know the average agency owner today is 57 years old, doesn’t have a necessarily clear succession plan, doesn’t necessarily want to retire, but they actually would like to take some chips off the table. So if they fit culturally with us and we can come up with a financial terms and conditions that make sense for both parties we want to do it. And so I would tell you that we’re always talking to people in terms of when and why people sell those are different across the board. We would say that pricing continues to, I would say be on the higher end of the range and on certain instances we have seen acquisitions trade up in areas that financially we would not go to. And so we have a financial discipline that we employ when we evaluate acquisitions.

People are not hiring quite as much

“ would say that you have hit on an interesting point which is we’re not seeing that many people hire lots of new employees as a general statement. So to your question, we’re seeing more people doing more with the same amount of employees or very cautiously adding new employees.

A lot of businesses are having to think about how ACA impacts them this year

“I think that in the last year and probably in the future in this coming year there has been a lot of transitions as ACA impacts different employer groups in terms of size. And so some of the smaller firms are thinking about their options, I am not saying that they are mandated to go an exchange but an exchange could be a private exchange like the private exchange that we use