Burnham Benefits Expands To Northern California With New Senior Leadership To Spearhead Growth In The Region

Industry Veteran Michael Michalski On Board to Extend Burnham's Unique Combination of Boutique Service and Fortune 500 Resources to Northern California Companies

LOS ANGELES / IRVINE, CA (April 4, 2013) – Burnham Benefits Insurance Services, one of the largest employee benefits brokerages in Southern California and one of the few to specialize solely in strategic employee benefits consulting and brokerage services, is staking out Northern California for a push toward further expansion—with new offices in the region and new senior leadership on board to drive growth and market penetration. Thirty-year industry veteran Michael Michalski has become an equity partner in the firm and has been appointed as regional president. He begins his service charged with building Burnham's Northern California team, establishing the new offices and championing the firm's overall growth.


Burnham Benefits has an established track record of expansion throughout Southern California with steady growth of 20 percent annually for the past 10 years; and 97 percent client retention. Michalski's vast industry experience spans successful entrepreneurship and the sale of his own firm to a major national player, as well as roles that encompassed sales, production and senior leadership of 50+-person teams focused on serving the Northern California region. His knowledge of the unique needs of the area, coupled with his diverse, multifaceted industry expertise and entrepreneurial spirit, make him ideal for the new position, where he'll take a strategic role in building the business.

"Michael and I share a common vision for establishing Burnham Benefits as a respected, client-first firm that offers employers the service of a boutique shop and the resources and infrastructure of a Fortune 500 firm," says Kristen Allison, president and founder of Burnham Benefits Insurance Services and a 30-year veteran of the employee benefits industry. "His experience is incredibly valuable to us, but the fact that he is equally committed to our shared goals for the future of Burnham Benefits is just as crucial. Quality growth is much more productive than rapid growth. As a team, we're ready to extend the quality of the Burnham brand to Northern California clients. Michael is ideally suited for that mission.

After working in employee benefits for Aetna, Michalski founded Optimum Benefits Company in 1984. The San Francisco firm grew rapidly and merged with Benefits Planning Inc. in 1989, becoming one of the largest regional benefits-only firms. He sold the company to Arthur J. Gallagher in March 2003 and stayed on as president until joining Burnham Benefits on April 1, 2013.

"The firm has established an extraordinary infrastructure and a corresponding reputation for outstanding service in Southern California," says Michalski. "The industry landscape has seen significant consolidation in recent years, and the market exists for a strong, independently controlled, statewide firm that can offer vendor/carrier cost opportunities as well as improved efficiencies in technology, communications and compliance. It's my job to preserve all the things that make Burnham great as I build its Northern California teams to balance company revenue across the state. I look forward to meeting that challenge as well as contributing to setting the tone and direction for the overall growth of the firm."

Company culture is an important building block for Burnham Benefits' success, and its foundation is built on productivity, integrity, fun and the opportunity for unfettered growth and contribution to a company legacy employees can be proud of. Burnham's northern expansion is creating roles for seasoned talent in production, account management, operations and communications. For more information about a career with Burnham Benefits, please contact Vanessa Scarbo, director of human resources, at 949-252-4572.

About Burnham Benefits Insurance Services:
Based in Irvine, Calif., Burnham Benefits Insurance Services Inc. is one of the largest employee benefits brokerages in Southern California and one of the few to specialize solely in employee benefits insurance. Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego employers trust Burnham to understand the unique challenges of the Southern California market. Kristen Allison, President of Burnham Benefits and a 30-year industry veteran, acquired the firm in 1995 from John Burnham Insurance Services, an Orange County mainstay for more than 50 years. Boasting the in-depth industry knowledge and Fortune 500 resources of a large firm, Burnham Benefits prides itself on retaining the flexibility, creativity and consultative service of a boutique. After steady growth of 20 percent annually for the past 10 years, the company serves more than 300 corporate clients throughout the United States and manages more than $600 million in premiums. Working with its colleagues at Burnham Gibson Financial Group, and having the added expertise of in-house underwriters, compliance officers and communications specialists, Burnham Benefits provides an integrated approach to managing a client's full spectrum of employee benefits. Named Best Place to Work by the Orange County Business Journal in both 2011 and 2012, the company has three offices in California: Irvine, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, as well as offices in Oregon and the Washington D.C. metro area. For more information, visit

Leslie Licano
Beyond Fifteen Communications

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