EPIC, Dowling Capital Form Protector Holdings to Capture Hispanic Market


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As the Hispanic and Latino populations continue to grow, so should the insurance company options available to them.

That is the thinking of one new Hispanic-focused insurance venture.

Paul Areida, CEO of the newly formed Protector Holdings, said the acquisition of California-based Premier Insurance Services in January was done to expand into an untapped and under-served market. Protector Holdings, based in San Francisco, was formed by Edgewood Partners Insurance Center (EPIC) and Dowling Capital Partners (DCP), which is financially backing the venture.

“We saw an opportunity to serve this demographic with a bigger breadth of products instead of just focusing on auto coverage, which is what was traditionally offered,” Areida said.

The Hispanic business community is a rapidly growing segment. There was a nearly 44 percent increase of Hispanic-owned businesses created between 2002 and 2007 – that’s more than twice the national average of all U.S. businesses, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency. The Latino population is also growing at a rapid pace, up by 15.2 million between the 2000 and 2010 Censuses, a 43 percent increase.

Traditionally this segment has been controlled by a few large agencies, but the personal and professional Hispanic communities are looking for more options, Areida said. The new venture will begin solely in California, where Premier is already licensed. There are plans to expand into West and Southwestern states including Texas, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.

Premier will offer most lines of business, including life, health and auto insurance through larger carriers like Progressive, Infinity, CNA, Safeco, and Zurich. There are plans to bring other carriers on board as well.

EPIC will provide the commercial lines insurance options and support – including finance, marketing and IT assistance –which will help the agency establish itself as it expands, according to Areida.

Part of the agency’s strategy will be to make sure the insurance is accessible to the Hispanic and Latino populations by having offices in their communities. Premier Insurance already has 15 offices throughout California serving the Latino community, and Areida said the plan is to have a heavy presence wherever they expand into and introduce other lines of business to help support these communities with their insurance needs.

“That’s a real important initiative for us to start cross-selling personal lines with homeowners and commercial accounts and reaching out to these communities,” he said.

Premier will function as an independent broker, and Areida said the firm will be looking to acquire other agencies and work with producers that can help with its strategic goals.


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