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Warfield-Dorsey, HMS Insurance

Two long-time Baltimore area insurance agencies have combined forces.

Warfield-Dorsey Co., Inc. of Hunt Valley, Maryland, has merged with HMS Insurance Associates Inc., an independent agency in Lutherville. The merger was effective Oct. 1, 2008, according to Gary L. Berger, president and CEO of HMS.

David Warfield, president and CEO, and Guy Warfield and Kimberly Greifzu, vice presidents, of Warfield- Dorsey, will take key positions at HMS Insurance Associates. David Warfield will also become a stockholder in HMS.

The combined staff of more than 130 will work from the present office locations in Hunt Valley and Greenspring Station, Lutherville.

Both firms have long histories in Baltimore. Warfield-Dorsey was established in 1894. David Warfield and his brother Guy are the fourth generation of their family to be principals in the firm.

HMS was formed in 1943 as The Hartman Agency, prior to becoming Hartman, McLean & Schmidt in 1962. The current ownership group purchased the firm in 1992 and changed the name to HMS Insurance Associates Inc. HMS reports that it writes more than $200 million in premium.

Berkshire, White Mountains

Billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. owns two more insurance companies after completing a deal with White Mountains Insurance Group. Berkshire traded 1.6 million shares of White Mountains stock, valued at $793 million, for Commercial Casualty Insurance Co., International American Group and $708 million cash.

The companies consummated the deal on Nov. 7. It was announced in March.

Berkshire retained a little over 89,000 shares of White Mountains, whose main executive office is in Hanover, N.H.

Both of the insurers Berkshire acquired are only managing existing policies until they are paid off and the companies close. They are not writing new policies.

High Point, N.J. Chamber

The 500,000 employees of the member companies of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce are now eligible for a discounted auto insurance program. The deal is being offered in a partnership with High Point Safety and Insurance Management Corp., a New Jersey-only auto insurer.

N.Y. Liquidation Bureau, Midland Insurance

As a first step toward a possible sale of Midland Insurance Co. to private investors, the New York Liquidation Bureau (NYLB) has hired the actuarial and consulting firm Milliman, Inc. to conduct a liquidation analysis of the Midland Estate, which is in liquidation with NYLB.

With approximately $1 billion in assets, the Midland Estate is one of the largest insurance companies under management of the NYLB. Midland Insurance was placed into liquidation on April 3, 1986. Midland’s largest coverage area was excess coverage for major Fortune 500 companies. The company also acted as a reinsurer.

The NYLB is the state’s receiver of insolvent or impaired insurance companies. It manages more than 60 domestic and non-domestic insurance company estates.

State officials said the liquidation analysis will assist them in estimating the total distribution it would pay to Midland’s policyholders if the NYLB were to continue to manage the liquidation. This in turn will enable the NYLB to evaluate bids from private investors, in order to ensure that policyholders are offered a better proposal under the private capital arrangement than under the current liquidation handled by the NYLB, according to officials.

The NYLB expects to publish a RFPs for the proposed sale of the Midland Estate within the next few months.

Electric Insurance Co.

Beverly, Massachusetts-based personal lines insurer Electric Insurance Co., announced several new independent agency appointments in key areas of the country.

The agencies that have received new appointments with Electric Insurance are: Affiliated Insurance Service Corp., of Conshocken, Pennsylvania; Novakoff Insurance, of Phoenix, Arizona; and Gallaher Insurance Group, of Missouri.

The newly appointed agencies will add regional coverage for Electric Insurance Co. in Greater Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley, Arizona and Missouri.

Max Specialty, New Hampshire

Max Specialty Insurance Co. said it has been approved as an eligible surplus lines insurer in New Hampshire.

The Richmond, Virginia-based insurer is now an eligible surplus lines insurer in 49 states.

The addition of New Hampshire means Max Specialty is an authorized eligible surplus lines insurer in 49 states and licensed in its domicile state of Delaware. Stephen J. Vaccaro Jr., president and chief executive officer, said the company is “well placed” to become “a leading U.S.-based excess and surplus lines company,” he added.

Venture

West Chester, Pa.-based Venture Insurance Programs, a national program administrator, will offer coastal property coverage under a new CATalyst Property Insurance brokerage facility.

CATalyst will support each of Venture’s current industry programs with access to all major property writers, while also providing mono-line coverage for agents and brokers with hard-to-place coastal, high hazard or other specialty property exposures. It will provide market access to Venture agents and brokers looking to write high-risk coastal exposures such as flood, wind and quake.


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