Let’s Start at the Beginning
Although he started out in construction with his brother, co-founder Bruce Kerr decided to become a life and disability insurance agent. He founded Kerr Insurance, Inc., in 1981.
A Beloved & Inspirational Employee
Employee Judy Hestor truly grew Kerr Insurance’s personal and small commercial lines divisions; it became a majority part of Kerr’s business because of Judy by 1995. She was beloved by customers, co-workers, and clients alike and epitomized what it means to provide the best in customer service. When Judy retired in 2007, TPG created a service award named in her honor. Today, our employees vote on a co-worker to win The Judy Award to someone who best represent her spirit and provide an “A” in experience.
Kerr-Cruickshank Gains Endorsement of OMA
Kerr formed a partnership with Rod Cruickshank, who had entered the industry in 1984. At the time, Kerr Insurance had four employees and approximately $400,000 in annual revenue. Together, Kerr and Cruickshank received the endorsement of the Oregon Medical Association (OMA) and formed a second company, Kerr-Cruickshank – a 50/50 endeavor with just 14 employees. Jo Bryson, former CEO of the OMA, has known Bruce since 2002, and she stated, “The relationship between customer (OMA) and vendor (Kerr-Cruickshank) blossomed.”
We Enter Into Employee Benefits
Employee benefits (EB) were added to Kerr’s list of services, with the first open enrollment. OMA’s clinics were our first EB customers. Prior to this, we only had individual physicians as clients.
Hello, Bend, OR!
The first satellite office was established in Bend, OR.
The Partners Group is Founded
The Partners Group is officially founded! Kerr and Cruikshank merged Kerr Insurance and Kerr–Cruickshank into what is known today as The Partners Group (TPG), aligning their skill sets around their strengths and what they liked to do best. Cruickshank says, “Bruce was the relationship builder, and I was the day-to-day leader.” Creating The Partners Group also represented a business strategy that broadened our client base to employers outside of the healthcare niche. Our experience serving the insurance needs of healthcare employers gave us the experience needed to excel in serving employer needs of any industry. As TPG grew and expanded, there was a lot of discovery and intent about what it means to be a “partner” and how TPG could live out its brand and build a strong culture that gives back to both employees and our community.
Start of The Partner Share Program
The first Partner Share was awarded. The greater of 10% profit or $10k is awarded to employees. The denomination grows with an employee’s length of service. The company looks forward to this festive, fun celebration each year to announce and award Partner Share to employees. TPG has a culture of giving back to employees and creating programs that ensure that employees share in TPG’s success.
TPG & OMA Become Office Mates
The Oregon Medical Association (OMA) formed a business partnership with The Partners Group that included co-investing in and constructing the building in which both were housed (until 2020). Then OMA CEO Jo Bryson said, “If you’re going to build a house together, you either become closer together or it’s going to tear you apart, and this partnership was one of the best I’ve ever created.”
Meacham & Baldwin Mergers
The Meacham Group merged with The Baldwin Resource Group. BRG later merges with TPG in 2011, bringing co-founder Bill Meacham on board.
TPG acquired IPA Financial, thereby expanding our Wealth Management division. The move made TPG one of Portland’s top locally owned financial management firms at the time.
Our Volunteering Mission Grows
After the ’08 economic downturn that affected so many, TPG founded its employee volunteering program that quickly became a touchstone of our company culture. Instead of an annual holiday party, we began a new tradition of volunteering as a company instead. Says Lisa Veber, current Executive Director of the TPG Foundation and who has overseen the volunteering program since 2013, “It’s very important to Rod [Cruickshank] and to the company that we help others who can’t help themselves.” Today, along with the company-wide volunteering event, each employee receives 32 hours of PTO annually to work for the organization of their choice—from school visits to environmental causes to animal rescue groups and beyond.
TPG Adds Business Analytics
Our Business Analytics division was formed, also known as Healthcare Analytics. It was rebranded as Interas in 2018. The team helps employers make informed choices about their benefit offerings, as well as plan for savings and growth, based on their unique data.
A Very Big Year
This was a blockbuster of a year; everything was done intentionally, with forethought for the future of TPG and its employees.
TPG merged with Baldwin Resource Group (BRG). Founded by Bill Baldwin in 1998, BRG specialized in insurance solutions, employee benefits, risk management, and business consulting. The merger allowed us to offer a full range of commercial insurance and business advisory services, in addition to the employee benefits programs and private wealth expertise we already had. This brought TPG to 87 employees.
BRG offices had been in Bellevue, WA, so we opened a new TPG location there for our newest co-workers. Given the size of the Seattle marketplace, this was in alignment with our long-term plans and growth. Because of the abundance of condominium property managers, owners, and non-profits in the region, it opened a new line of commercial clients for TPG.
Retirement Division Added
We had many clients asking for retirement consulting, which was added to TPG’s suite of services.
Greetings, Mr. President & CEO
Rod Cruickshank was named President and CEO.
We Add Marathon Wealth
Marathon Wealth Management was added, for expanded asset management and financial planning services. “We are offering both our client groups a financially strong partner for the long term and believe that our expanded group of advisors will allow us to service the demand we are seeing in all these areas,” Cruickshank said. Along with a new book of clients, we added employees who were well-versed in compliance and account service.
A Consortium of Independent Insurance Firms
Cruickshank created C2 Solutions, a consortium of independent insurance firms representing diverse regions across the US. This alliance of like-minded independent firms joined forces to share best practices and create the leverage of a large national firm to bring the best products, services, and contracts to customers while maintaining the benefits of independent regional firms.
Another Very Big Year
We enjoyed another monumental year, with significant personnel changes, mergers, and additions.
A Trio Retires
First-generation co-founders Bruce Kerr, Bill Meacham, and Bill Baldwin retired. They left behind a true legacy of community benevolence, stability, and success, which TPG still follows today.
Merger Creates a New Division: GPAS
TPG merged with Benefit Partners and hired Brad Nantz to lead the newly formed division (Group Physician Advisory Services, a.k.a. GPAS) through the merger and beyond. The merge expanded our Physicians Advisory Services (PAS) division, which meets the needs of physician practices with employee benefits and insurance strategies.
The Perpetuation Plan
TPG launched the Perpetuation Plan, a means of remaining an independent firm and transitioning ownership to a broader group of TPG employees. After three years, directors and sales team members receive a portion of their pay in stock.
Another Business Division Added
Our Health & Productivity division (renamed PartnerWell in 2019) was added. It was a combination of wellbeing consulting, leave and absence management, and healthcare analytics.
Senior Leadership Expands
Our Executive Leadership Team (ELT) was formed. The company’s steady growth and long-term goals prompted a strategic expansion of the senior leadership team. “As a purpose-driven, expanding firm we have big goals to continue our growth and give back $30M to our employees and our community by 2030.” Cruickshank said. “Achieving our goals and maintaining our strong company culture requires intentional leadership focus, commitment, and alignment.”
TAM Becomes Its Own Division
The highly specialized and growing Total Absence Management (TAM) practice turned into its own division to continue to invest in this service for our customers.
TPG acquired McDonald Insurance Group (MIG), a Washington independent insurance agency that specialized in commercial insurance, medical malpractice insurance, and personal insurance for more than 25 years.
TPG Financial Is Formed
TPG Financial LLC was formed and became a fully independent registered investment advisor (RIA), showing that the company was committed to this line of business. Within a year, TPG LLC’s assets under management reaches $1 billion.
The Lake Oswego and Portland HQ offices combined and moved into a new building in Portland, built to reflect our unique and people-centered culture and create a collaborative workplace that enables team members to thrive.
Yet Another Very Big Year
Although 2020 was a challenge for the entire world, TPG nonetheless achieved many of its goals that had been put into place.
Brad Nantz Named President
Brad Nantz, former TPG Executive VP of Physicians Advisory Services and with an industry background of over three decades, was named president. “Joining TPG four and a half years ago was the highlight of my career,” Nantz said. “When I think about this new role as president and where the company is headed, I feel honored to lead this group of outstanding people.”
Hello, Boise, ID!
Boise, ID, office was established, expanding our employee benefits division into a new region.
Meet The TPG Foundation
The TPG Foundation was officially formed. This 501c3 with a commitment to the health of our community and future generations will help us accelerate our fundraising efforts and make an even greater impact in living out our purpose and reaching our long-term vision of giving back to our people and communities.
Let’s Give Back
TPG launched its #Give30 campaign. As a purpose-driven, employee-owned organization, #Give30 is our 10-year goal to give back $30 million in time and money to the community and to have expanded firm ownership to 100% of TPG employees by the end of 2030.
Celebrating 40 years
TPG hits a major milestone in its history. We are proud to be among the small number of companies who had thrived and grown in the Pacific Northwest for four decades and counting.