Insurance companies in the property/casualty and healthcare fields have long been among the most active sponsors across sports, entertainment and other types of corporate partnerships.
And while the presence of major providers in the U.S.—Allstate, Cigna, GEICO, State Farm, UnitedHealth, etc.—and internationally—AIA, Allianz, AXA, and others—remains strong, another segment of the industry is signing major deals at a record pace.
Insurance brokerages began emerging as significant players in sponsorship toward the end of the last decade, and this year has seen an acceleration of deal signings among some of the largest companies in the sector.
For many years, Aon—the second-largest insurance brokerage in the world, according to the 2022 rankings by Business Insurance magazine—was the lone sponsorship standard-bearer among its peers, capped off by its groundbreaking jersey deal with Manchester United, which it signed in 2009.
As that partnership was superseded by the company’s alliances with the PGA Tour, LPGA and Ryder Cup, some of Aon’s biggest competitors entered the space, beginning with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., the fourth largest global brokerage. Gallagher went on a sponsorship spending spree beginning in 2018 and has since amassed a portfolio that includes title of the Premiership Rugby league in the U.K., as well as deals with Penske Entertainment/NTT IndyCar Series, First Tee, Special Olympics and multiple pro sports teams including the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, Houston Astros, Atlanta Falcons/Atlanta FC, Jacksonville Jaguars, FC Dallas and others.
Most recently, two other members of Business Insurance’s top 10 have inked a flurry of deals in 2022. No. 8 Acrisure has agreed to three big sponsorships this year: renaming the Pittsburgh Steelers’ stadium, taking title to Oak View Group’s new arena in Palm Springs, Calif. and naming the main entrance to the New York Islanders’ UBS Arena the Acrisure Great Hall.
No. 4 Hub International last week concluded an agreement with Madison Square Garden Entertainment to become an official partner of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, Madison Square Garden Arena, and the Montefiore Concert Series at Madison Square Garden. The company also will take title to the Hub Loft members-only premium suite and become the presenting partner of “College Hoops at The Garden.”
Earlier this summer, the company expanded its relationship with IndyCar team Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, taking a primary sponsorship of its entry driven by Rookie of the Year Christian Lundgaard.
Many of the players in the category are big businesses with little name recognition, thus their common objectives are to gain brand awareness and consideration among business prospects and customers while acquiring tickets and hospitality assets for client entertainment and relationship building.
The other companies in the Business Insurance top 10 rankings remain top prospects for properties offering those types of B2B benefits and opportunities. They are: Marsh & McLennan (1), Willis Towers Watson (3), Brown & Brown (6), Truist Insurance Holdings (7), Lockton Cos. (9) and Alliant Insurance Services (10).