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InFocus Advisors begins operating Patricia D Spencer Agency

By Journal Staff


CLAY  —  InFocus Advisors, Inc. brought the operations of Patricia D Spencer Agency under its roof at the beginning of November.

“To the best of my knowledge this is pretty unique,” says Dave Lavelle, president of InFocus Advisors and one of the insurance, investment, and group-benefit firm’s five partners. “You used to have a small, one-person producer that decided they would join an agency or go from one agency to another. But it’s not as common for entire agencies to do that.”

InFocus Advisors is managing all of the Spencer Agency’s operations under an agency-managing contract. But Patricia Spencer still owns her agency.

The arrangement takes advantage of economies of scale, according to Lavelle. The Spencer Agency no longer has its own location, as all of its operations are being run from InFocus Advisors’ headquarters at 8035 Oswego Road in Clay.

The Spencer Agency closed its former four-person office at 4317 E. Genesee St. in DeWitt at the beginning of November, Lavelle adds. InFocus Advisors added the Spencer Agency’s main service employee, and Spencer Agency clients will be able to buy additional lines of insurance through the agency because of the agreement, Lavelle continues.

“They were mostly what we call in the business a property and casualty shop,” he says. “We also do life and financial, and other aspects as well. Some of the things their clients used to do, they may not have had a market for. We do have a market for them.”

Existing clients should not notice much of a change, according to Lavelle. They will still purchase their insurance coverage through the Spencer Agency, existing as its own company.

The agencies’ managing contract does contain a provision setting up InFocus Advisors to acquire the Spencer Agency’s book of business when Spencer decides to sell it in the future. That clause kicks in after 25 months, meaning Spencer could decide to sell to InFocus Advisors any time after that.

“By that time we think the book will become solidified,” Lavelle says. “Their clients will be used to us and our staff.”

Managing the Spencer Agency is one way InFocus Advisors plans to grow in the future. The Spencer Agency will probably make up 12 percent to 14 percent of InFocus Advisors’ revenue in 2013, Lavelle says. Without the Spencer Agency deal, InFocus Advisors would likely have grown between 10 percent and 13 percent next year, matching its rate of growth in recent years, he says. With the Spencer Agency, Lavelle anticipates InFocus Advisors’ growing revenue by 19 percent to 20 percent.

He declines to share specific revenue totals. He also declines to disclose financial terms of the agency-managing contract.

Adding the Spencer Agency employee brings InFocus Advisors to nine employees. It also has nine independent contractors. The company is headquartered in 3,000 square feet it leases on Oswego Road from landlord James Carroll. InFocus Advisors used to own the building but sold it to Carroll in 2010, according to records from Onondaga County’s Office of Real Property Tax Services.

InFocus Advisors will consider acquiring other insurance agencies in the future, according to Lavelle. It will also be open to more agency-managing contracts.

“We think there are a lot of agencies out there that aren’t willing to sell yet but recognize in this environment the potential for a situation like this,” Lavelle says. “As an agency owner you can actually make more money because you’re not paying the expenses, and because of economies of scale you can serve your clients better.”

In addition to Lavelle, InFocus Advisors’ other partners are Mike Monica, Eric Deuble, its director of operations, Matt Warner, and its CEO, Rick Carlesco.


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