National Insurance Brokerage Firm IMA Financial Group Acquires ESS NexTier

Move grows Denver-based firm’s energy practice, adds offices in Eastern US

(DENVER – May 1, 2020) IMA Financial Group, a national insurance brokerage firm specializing in property and casualty insurance, employee benefits and surety bonds, today completed its acquisition of ESS NexTier Insurance Group, a similarly structured practice with four offices throughout Pennsylvania.

“Our long-term growth strategy hinges on partnering with highly successful firms like ESS NexTier that add to our expertise and share our ideals,” said IMA Financial Group Chairman and CEO Rob Cohen. “Despite current economic conditions, IMA continues to focus on its long-term strategy and unwavering commitment to building an industry-leading team.”

The acquisition quickly expands IMA’s energy practice. ESS NexTier adds natural gas capabilities to IMA’s existing expertise including onshore and offshore operations and international exploration. It also establishes a Northeastern presence for IMA, which has its main offices in Colorado, Kansas, Texas and Michigan.

“ESS NexTier is made up of high-quality talent with a culture that matches perfectly to our own,” said IMA Financial Group President Luke Proctor. “We look forward to investing in the region’s reputable and dynamic business community with additional service offerings and new opportunities.”

ESS NexTier’s 35 current employees and its four locations across Pennsylvania – in Butler, Pittsburgh, and two in Kittanning – will continue operations as IMA | ESS. In the new organization, Charles “Chip” Echnoz will serve as president of IMA | ESS – Pittsburgh, Rick Putnam as senior executive vice president of IMA | ESS and Watson Barker as executive vice president of IMA | ESS.

“We are joining two companies, but the benefits to our clients and teams are much more than one plus one,” said Echnoz. “Together, we create remarkable bench strength in our core business areas and a wider offering to better service our existing clients.”

Read coverage in the Denver Business Journal, the Wichita Business Journal and the Pittsburgh Business Times. Learn more about IMA’s additional acquisitions this year in the Denver Business Journal


IMA Financial Group is the 6th largest independent, employee-owned insurance broker in the United States, specializing in property and casualty insurance, employee benefits and surety bonds. It is a subsidiary of the IMA Financial Group, Inc., which employs nearly 800 associates in Colorado, Kansas, Texas and Michigan and now Pennsylvania. The mission of the employee-owned company is to protect assets and make a difference for its clients, associates and communities.


Media Contacts:

Ruth Rohs, VP Corporate Communications/Executive Director of the IMA Foundation,

Tracy Henderson, Center Reach Communications,



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