Mass. Attorney General to Look into Commerce Insurance Sale to Mapfre

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The pending acquisition of Commerce Insurance Group, Inc. by Spain’s largest insurer, Mapfre S.A., is being investigated by the Massachusetts attorney general.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Commerce reported that it has received notice that Attorney General Martha Coakley plans to investigate “whether the proposed merger may violate the Massachusetts Antitrust Act or the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act.”

Commerce is the largest auto insurer in the state, which has only 19 companies writing auto.

Spain’s largest insurer, Mapfre S.A., has agreed to buy the Webster, Mass.-based personal lines insurer for $2.21 billion in cash in a move to expand its presence in the U.S. market.

Commerce is ranked as the 20th largest personal automobile insurance group in the country by A.M. Best Co., based on 2006 direct written premium information.

The Mapfre-Commerce transaction is also subject to other regulatory approvals.


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