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Insurance Burnham expands Orange County insurance activities; buys firm

TUSTIN , San Diego’s John Burnham & Co. has bought Tustin-based The Bowman Co. Insurance Services.

“We are looking to grow into a major player in Orange County,” said Earl D. Butler, a managing senior vice president and head of Orange County operations for John Burnham.

The acquisition brought nine people into John Burnham’s Irvine office, giving it a total of 17 local employees.

George Bowman, the acquired firm’s principal, is joining the company.

“It is a good match,” Butler said. “They were one of the companies that had the same values we have. Their middle market client base matched with ours.”

Last year, Bowman had $1.5 million in revenue, while Burnham counted about $13 million.

Butler said Burnham is looking for more insurance brokerages to buy, adding the firm is in talks with a few other Orange County companies.

“We want to be the dominant player in Orange County, like we are in San Diego,” Butler said.

But Burnham has a long way to go. According to the Orange County Business Journal’s annual list of insurance brokerages, Burnham has to pass up 14 companies, including big names such as Marsh Risk & Insurance Services and Aon Risk Services, in order to be the leader locally.

Last year, Burnham’s Orange County office counted $3 million in revenue, vs. the $53 million in revenue reported by Marsh Risk locally and the $40 million of Aon Risk. Burnham has 110 employees in four offices companywide.

Orloff is a reporter with the Orange County Business Journal.

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