Our History

Our History

A 50-year history of innovation and service.

Company Milestones

  • The legacy begins.

    Herbert W. Kaufman establishes Burns & Wilcox and begins serving independent retail insurance agents and brokers from one office in Southfield, MI.
  • An auspicious idea leads to a narrowing of strategic purpose.

    Burns & Wilcox fully commits to operate only in the wholesale space.  Mr. Kaufman recognizes that the retail and wholesale businesses were competing against each other. He realigns the organization to become 100% dedicated to wholesale insurance.  
  • A pivotal acquisition leads to a primary position of strength.

    Burns & Wilcox acquires Service General.   The acquisition expands Burns & Wilcox into personal lines, making it the largest Personal Insurance Wholesaler in North America, a position the company holds to this day. 
  • Burns & Wilcox goes public.

    On September 6, coinciding with Mr. Kaufman’s birthday, the company begins trading on the American Stock Exchange.  
  • The company expands to the upper Midwest and Plains States.

    Burns & Wilcox acquired Casualty Underwriters. The acquisition expanded commercial and specialty insurance reach in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota.  
  • Burns & Wilcox heads South. 

    Burns & Wilcox acquired Floyd West & Company.  Through offices in Dallas & New Orleans, the acquisition greatly expanded operations in the South.  
  • Heading West.  

    Burns & Wilcox acquired Rathbone, King & Seeley. The acquisition of the San Francisco-based company, founded in 1849, provided a leading West-Coast market for a wide variety of commercial coverages & many hard-to-place risks.
  • A significant financial milestone is reached.

    Burns & Wilcox surpasses $250M in annual revenue.
  • The solidification of Burns & Wilcox as a family run business.

    Second-generation leader, Alan Jay Kaufman, acquires 100% of the company by taking it private. 
  • A doubling in revenue.

    Burns & Wilcox surpasses $500M in annual revenue. 
  • A new, key market is opened.

    The company acquires Kimbrell Insurance Group and rebrands it as the Burns & Wilcox Myrtle Beach office.
  • B&W goes international.

    Burns & Wilcox acquires Chesterfield Canada. The addition of the Canadian-based wholesale broker focused on specialty commercial risks marks Burns & Wilcox expansion internationally. The firm is rebranded as Burns & Wilcox Canada.
  • A wholesale commitment to wholesale.

    Burns & Wilcox Brokerage is established, an independent business unit solely dedicated to wholesale insurance brokerage. 
  • Impressive revenue growth continues.

    Burns & Wilcox surpasses $750M in annual revenue. 
  • Burns & Wilcox begins PGA Tour player sponsorship.

    Burns & Wilcox partners with 6-time PGA Tour winner Jimmy Walker.
  • Another revenue milestone.

    Burns & Wilcox surpasses $1B in annual revenue.
  • Burns & Wilcox takes to the ice.

    Burns & Wilcox begins sponsorship of 11-time Champion Detroit Red Wings with the Burns & Wilcox logo emblazoned on center ice.  
  • Burns & Wilcox furthers its reach inside the PGA Tour ropes. 

    Burns & Wilcox adds another PGA Tour Brand Ambassador with 7-time PGA Tour winner Webb Simpson.
  • A half century of innovation and growth.

    Burns & Wilcox celebrates its golden anniversary.
  • Burns & Wilcox crosses the pond.

    Burns & Wilcox acquires Barbican Protect and rebrands as Burns & Wilcox United Kingdom with offices in London, Manchester and Birmingham, England.
  • Burns & Wilcox expands its team.

    Burns & Wilcox adds two-time PGA Tour winner Max Homa to Team Burns & Wilcox
  • Third-generation leader named President of Burns & Wilcox.

    Danny Kaufman is promoted to President of Burns & Wilcox
  • Burns & Wilcox welcomes first LPGA athlete sponsor

    Burns & Wilcox adds Sophia Schubert to Team Burns & Wilcox.

Burns & Wilcox United Kingdom

In February 2020, H.W. Kaufman Group acquired Barbican Protect Limited which now trades under the name of Burns & Wilcox Limited and operates from three offices in London, Manchester, and Birmingham. The team, led by Stuart Kilpatrick, continues to be recognised for its expertise in product lines including Property, Casualty, Professional Indemnity and Terrorism, and Adult & Child Care Services Insurance.

The Legacy of Our Founder

The Lasting Legacy of Founder Herbert W. Kaufman


Building North America’s largest private specialty insurance firm was no small feat. The empire that is now H.W. Kaufman Group started with the vision of one man—Founder, Herbert W. Kaufman. Through his leadership, Herb was able to grow the company from virtually nothing to the multi-billion dollar organization that it is now, with over 60 offices around the globe and more than 2,000 employees – while sticking to his core values. Now, his son Alan Jay Kaufman stands at the helm of the organization, and while Herb is no longer with us, his vision and dream live on within the legacy he built.


A pioneer in wholesale/MGA insurance


Blazing a trail in specialty insurance took determination, foresight, and years of hard work. Herb began his career working at his father’s plumbing and real estate development businesses, handling all financial aspects. This early role included maintaining insurance, and it was this aspect of the family business that spurred his imagination. Soon, Herb was looking for an opportunity in the industry.


In 1969, he established H.W. Kaufman Group and Burns & Wilcox. Herb first focused in retail insurance, but he quickly saw the potential of wholesale/MGA. After success in both areas, he recognized that the retail and wholesale/MGA businesses were competing against each other.


“Although retail was more profitable in the short term, my father had a long-term vision to grow wholesale/MGA and devoted 100 percent of the company to that direction,” said Alan Jay Kaufman, Chairman, President, and CEO, H.W. Kaufman Group and Burns & Wilcox. “While this was not popular or familiar at the time, he made a bold prediction that paid off. He was truly ahead of his time.” Read More