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
“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
“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.