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Burns & Wilcox Overview

Farmington Hills, MI
1001 to 5000 employees
Company - Private
Insurance Agencies & Brokerages
$2 to $5 billion (USD) per year
Internationally recognized for its and drive and expertise, Burns & Wilcox is the flagship company within H.W. Kaufman Kaufman Group and North America’s leading independently owned insurance wholesale broker and underwriting manager. Burns ... Read more

Mission: To deliver bold solutions, quality management, high-level service, and innovative technology to our client partners.

Company Updates

  • Great event and proud to support the Boy Scouts of America's fourth annual "Dodge for Detroit Dodgeball Tournament" to help underserved youth through the Scouting program.

  • A big thank you to Jeff Diefenbach, Senior Vice President Executive of Operations, and Oneil Franso, Director of Organizational Development, for leading an amazing day with our management team at our Parsippany, New Jersey office!

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Burns & Wilcox – Why Work For Us?

History of Burns and Wilcox

Burns & Wilcox is an expert in the excess and surplus insurance market. Also called specialty insurance, these product lines refer to complex or unique risks that typically fall outside what the standard market will cover.

Understanding the Specialty Insurance Business

Specialty insurance originated during the 17th century when merchants would gather at Edward Lloyd’s coffee house in London to await word that their ships had arrived safely in port. They recognized an opportunity to better manage risk to their ships by backing one another, spreading their chance of individual catastrophe and assuring themselves of profit. It is also where the term “underwriter” is derived – when one would agree to accept a portion of the risk by writing their name under the representative who previously agreed to accept portions of the risk represented.

Lloyd’s of London remains the epicenter of the global specialty insurance business, which has expanded to include U.S. companies or “markets” where risks can be placed. Burns & Wilcox acts as an intermediary between retail insurance brokers and agents and the specialty London and U.S. markets.

Our Commitment to Excellence

In 1969, the late Herbert W. Kaufman established Burns & Wilcox as an insurance wholesaler to provide brokers and agents with unique access to a variety of insurance markets and help place their specialty risks. Mr. Kaufman began his career as a retail insurance agent. He set out to build a better wholesale platform that would partner with insurance companies and improve the standard of service provided to retail brokers and agents.

Today the entrepreneurial spirit of Burns & Wilcox continues to thrive under the direction of Mr. Kaufman’s son, Alan Jay Kaufman, the company’s Chairman, President and CEO. Burns & Wilcox now stretches to 50 offices throughout North America and includes more than 1,600 professionals.

Engineered for the Future

While the business has evolved in the more than 45 years since Mr. Kaufman founded the company, there are tenants central to the fabric of Burns & Wilcox that remain forever unchanged.

Burns & Wilcox was built on the strength of market relationships that continue to deepen over time. Deals that were struck over a handshake more than a quarter century ago have resulted in long-term and mutually profitable partnerships.

Retail brokers and agents continue to rely on Burns & Wilcox for the company’s in-depth expertise, breakthrough products and innovative solutions to place nearly every distinct risk that a company encounters.

The company’s financial freedom and 100 percent commitment to the wholesale insurance business has Burns & Wilcox well positioned for enduring success that will continue through the next generation of Kaufman family leadership and beyond.

The Kaufman Standard

Powered by Opportunity
  • We are built to compete with anyone.

    Our success story reflects a belief that no other organization can mirror our agility, speed and passion for results. We will strengthen our presence through the continued growth of a balanced portfolio of companies across a multitude of industries.

  • We invest in our people and their ongoing development.

    Our professionals share a passion for entrepreneurship, thriving in an environment that fosters innovative thinking and sparks new ideas. We are committed to continual learning and improvement, ensuring professional growth is aligned with career advancement.

  • We believe in partnership, integrity, and excellence.

    Our business fundamentally exists because of the relationships we enjoy with our clients and partners. They seek our global expertise; they rely on our unmatched vertical depth; and they trust our counsel.

  • We remain fiercely independent.

    Our family ownership and freedom from Wall Street has created a flexible organization that can quickly adapt to changing market conditions. We are purposeful in exploring opportunities to diversify our business and extend our global capabilities.

  • We give back to the communities in which we do business.

    Our organization was built on the foundation of protection and restoration. We recognize and embrace the responsibility in dedicating time and resources to those organizations that are important to our communities and professionals.

  • We believe in perpetuating the industry.

    Our professionals understand the role that our businesses play in driving the global economy. We are proud to serve as relevant and influential voices within industry associations and in promoting the dynamic and meaningful careers offered to our team.

  • We deliver the resources and technology to empower our teams.

    Our organization demands an advanced infrastructure to support the speed with which we conduct business around the world. We invest in the systems required to ensure our teams can provide unparalleled service to our clients and partners.

  • We are driven by potential.

    Our enduring success requires constant evolution. We see limitless possibilities for our business, fueled by our bold growth strategy that expands our worldwide footprint, deepens our expertise and delivers for our bottom line.

  • We are committed to the bottom line.

    Our organization is designed to be smart, efficient and resourceful. This focus secures our long-term financial freedom and ensures we will always have the means to make strategic investments in our people and companies.

  • We understand our power together.

    Our teams collaborate across company, department, office and geography to deliver solutions and capture incremental business. We learn from one another; we are accountable to each other; and collectively, we work together to elevate the entire organization.

Our Opportunities

Burns & Wilcox, part of the H.W. Kaufman Group family of companies, offers many career opportunities for talented people, whether experienced or recent college graduates. At Kaufman we value honesty, integrity, excellence, customer service, and innovation. In return, you will discover that we provide limitless opportunities for personal growth and success.

Our People

Burns & Wilcox firmly believes that talent comes in many forms, and we celebrate each and every one of them. It is talent above all else that is cultivated, nourished, and is considered to be the foundation of our culture. Our team at Burns & Wilcox is comprised of talented individuals, and we also encourage each member of the team to realize their full potential. In addition, we value and respect the differences and diversity within our organization.

Our Culture

Great teams grow one person at a time. Kaufman and Burns & Wilcox strive to reach out to people with an entrepreneurial spirit and match them with opportunities that will allow them to excel. We view hiring as a collaborative process, a chance to learn about each other and a chance to share the excitement as Burns & Wilcox continues to grow and succeed.

Alan Kaufman

Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Alan Jay Kaufman is Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of H.W. Kaufman Group, headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan. He is also the founding senior partner of a Detroit and Farmington Hills law firm, Kaufman, Payton & Chapa.

A motivated leader and entrepreneur, Mr. Kaufman identified and capitalized on the opportunity to improve client services and to expand the company through vertical integration. In 1996, Mr. Kaufman took Kaufman, a successful public company, private.

Under Mr. Kaufman’s leadership, both Kaufman and the companies in its portfolio have delivered double-digit annual growth to reach over $1.6 billion in revenue in 2014. Burns & Wilcox, Kaufman’s flagship company and one of the nation’s largest specialty insurance brokers, generated over $1 billion in annual premium.

Additionally, surgical acquisitions and global expansion have built a portfolio of companies that leverage each other’s strength and expertise.

In recognition of his entrepreneurial leadership, Ernst & Young awarded Alan Jay Kaufman the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Business Services Category for Michigan and Northwest Ohio in June 2011. In 2012, American Agent & Broker recognized Mr. Kaufman as one of the top 25 Living Legends of Insurance. Mr. Kaufman received the Distinguished Alumni award from his alma mater, Michigan State University in 2013. Most recently, he was named to the 2014 Hot 100 list by Insurance Business America in recognition for his commitment to developing talent.

Mr. Kaufman’s dedication to excellence and success can be traced back to his commitment to education and leadership training. In 2007, he founded the Kaufman Institute, which provides ongoing professional development opportunities for his valued employees through classroom and web based training and education programs for the insurance industry.

An active philanthropist, Mr. Kaufman dedicates considerable time and resources to many civic, community and business organizations.

In 2015, Mr. Kaufman established a major endowment within the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University to provide academic leadership in insurance. The Alan Jay and Sue E. Kaufman Endowed Professorship in Insurance and Risk Management reflects Mr. Kaufman’s vision in which talented students can discover the wealth of opportunities that come with pursuing insurance as a career.

In addition he currently serves as an active board member of Business Leaders for Michigan; The Detroit Economic Club; Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business Alumni Association; Walsh College; and the Boy Scouts of America Great Lakes Council.

Mr. Kaufman holds a B.A. from Michigan State University in finance, insurance, and accounting and a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School. He also studied international law at the London School of Economics.

Team Burns & Wilcox

Great teams share one thing in common: they produce when it counts. It is this innate ability to deliver that connects Burns & Wilcox with PGA professionals Jimmy Walker and Webb Simpson, one of the most storied hockey franchises of all-time, the Detroit Red Wings and Michigan native, forward Justin Abdelkader. Four champions with the speed, power and drive to reach the apex of their fields.

Professional golfers Jimmy Walker and Webb Simpson have a combined 10 PGA tour victories, including career-defining Major victories in 2016 and 2012, respectively. Through their hard-nosed play and 11 championships, the Red Wings have turned the “Hockeytown” moniker into a way of life, celebrating an unparalleled championship culture. Justin Abdelkader scored the game winning goal for Michigan State to claim a national championship and was part of the Red Wings 2008 championship team. All four took their games to the next level by partnering with the most powerful team in specialty insurance: Burns & Wilcox.

Burns & Wilcox Reviews

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Alan Jay Kaufman
91 Ratings
  • Featured Review

    Helpful (3)

    "Broker Assistant"

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Broker Assistant
    Current Employee - Broker Assistant
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Burns & Wilcox full-time (More than 3 years)


    Access to a lot of carriers, great client relationships, and positive working environment.


    It takes a long time and a lot of training to really learn the business but can be pretty lucrative if you stick with it.

    Advice to Management

    Still some kinks to work out with the overall parent company culture. Invest more time and money into your employees than into your corporate sponsorships. Follow up with branch level managers to ensure they are progressing their employees and giving everyone a chance to be promoted.

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Burns & Wilcox Interviews



Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview




  1. Featured Interview


    Underwriting Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Detroit, MI
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview


    I applied online. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Burns & Wilcox (Detroit, MI) in February 2018.


    Phone screen, on-site interview with management, then phone call with Senior VP. Overall pleasant experience. HR followed up with me throughout the process and was very helpful. Phone calls were brief and the onsite interview was about 45 minutes and I had a chance to tour the office.

    Interview Questions

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Burns & Wilcox Awards & Accolades

  • Fast 50 Fastest-Growing Companies(10), Crain's Detroit Business, 2014
  • Private 200: Largest Privately Held Companies in Southeast Michigan(17), Crain's Detroit Business, 2014

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