Marsh McLennan Agency (MMA) announced it has acquired Vaaler Insurance Inc. in a deal that will allow Vaaler to use its resources while operating as usual.

Vaaler Insurance is a third-generation, family-owned business providing insurance, health benefits and more to people across the region. The company’s areas of expertise are in the construction, education and healthcare industries. It has 81 employees and offices in Grand Forks, Fargo and Bismarck, as well as one in Fosston, Minn.

Vaaler has been in business since 1947, and its Multimedia Communications Specialist Jana Davis said it will continue to operate as per usual, but under a different banner.

“We are now part of the Marsh McLennan Agency team, which we are super pumped about,” Davis said. “We have been family-owned for three generations. It will be 75 years next year that we’ve been around. So, we’ve been long-standing, especially in the Grand Forks community. We’ve definitely been there since the start.”

Marsh McLennan is an international professional services firm headquartered in New York, with businesses in insurance brokerage, risk management, reinsurance services, talent management, investment advisory and management consulting.

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Vaaler Insurance clients can breathe a sigh of relief, however, as their experiences with the company will remain the same. Davis said the acquisition will also allow Vaaler to work with expanded resources to serve its customers with the same experience they have come to know.

“It allows us to continue to service everyone locally, and our clients aren’t going to notice a ton of change, as far as their day-to-day,” Davis said. “They’re still going to work with the same team, they’re still going to have the same contacts and we’re still very much dedicated to providing that high-touch, proactive local service that our clients have become used to, and that has made us really one of the leaders of that in the region. I know that is one of the main reasons that MMA was so interested in Vaaler, because we have built that service reputation. We do show up for our clients. That was something that they were interested in when they were looking at us as well, because we had built that reputation and standard of service.”

Davis said the acquisition is an opportunity for Vaaler Insurance to prepare for and provide opportunities for growth and improvement in customer service.

“It’s exciting for us for the future,” Davis said. “I think it gives us a lot of depth and positions, as well, to serve our clients in what is a rapidly-changing risk management landscape.”

Bruce Vaaler, CEO of Vaaler Insurance, said the company will not be completely absorbed by Marsh McLennan, but it will operate as a separate division. He said one of the purposes of the acquisition was for Vaaler to expand its own resources beyond that of a local company.

“We are a part of the national organization,” Vaaler said. “We get a whole bunch of additional resources that we really feel that makes us better. They have tons of capabilities and tons of additional things that they provide that we can (now) provide our customers, and really our whole process going into this was, ‘What’s going to make us better? What’s going to make us stronger as an organization?’”

Vaaler said part of expanding its resources includes the resources available to its employees.

“I think what it does for our employees is (give) them more opportunities,” Vaaler said. “Say one of our employees moves to a different part of the country, then they would have placement somewhere else. Even locally and regionally, there are advancement opportunities for our best people, our people who want to make a career out of this, and most of them do. That’s the attitude we try to foster within our organization.”