T.E. Brennan celebrates 120 years
Brookfield company is oldest independent risk management consulting firm

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

April 30, 2015

 Arlene Petersen, owner of T. E. Brennan Company.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

BROOKFIELD - For 120 years, T.E. Brennan Company has been helping clients manage risk.

As the country’s oldest independently owned risk management consulting firm, owner Arlene Petersen has a well-established reputation to maintain.

She started as a consultant with T.E. Brennan Company and eventually bought the company with three other people in October 2005, all of who have since retired. They bought the company from the man who bought it from the Brennan family.

“I have a lot of pride in working here and being the owner because of the history of helping clients through the years,” Petersen said.

In 1895, Thomas E. Brennan started the company, which has since passed down through the family. The firm has always been located in the area, Petersen said, although it shifted its focus from helping people recover from losses after a fire occurred to offering coverage before the disaster happened.

“It became more proactive than reactive,” Petersen said. “Through the years we’ve kept to that philosophy of proactively helping our clients.”

The three consultants at T.E. Brennan Company work with clients of varying size, although many tend to be larger companies who seek advice on what types of insurance they need to protect themselves.

“We always work in the best interest of the client,” Petersen said.

At T.E. Brennan Company, they care about a client’s coverage level and their exposure to risk and then to help them address it in a way that works for them.

“We look at the bigger picture than an insurance agent,” she said.

There are so many ways companies need to be protected, whether that’s against possible lawsuits from employees or when opening up a facility in China. Petersen said there is more risk to employers these days, such as from cyberattacks or antitrust lawsuits.

At T.E. Brennan Company, the motto is “the words are the words” and each document is carefully read to make sure the client is properly protected.

Many corporate clients come to T.E. Brennan to get a review of programs so that representatives can go to their board of directors and say they received a second opinion from T.E. Brennan Company, Petersen said.

T.E. Brennan has 250 clients, and Petersen said the company is growing slowly and steadily. Some of the clients are in other states and work internationally.

“As the economy improves, (clients) expand and they need to be protected while they expand,” Petersen said.

If a company expands internationally or gets a foreign partner, it is opening itself up to new risks.

“As a true consultant, we want to hook (clients) up with people who have the knowledge,” Petersen said.

T.E. Brennan Company also works with clients on benefit packages for clients, including helping them sift through the Affordable Care Act.


Email: kmichalets@conleynet.com