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Hudson Insurance, Hooghuis

Hudson Insurance Group, the U.S. insurance division of Odyssey Re Holdings Corp.has acquired Hooghuis Group LLC, an underwriting agency specializing in U.S. directors and officers liability (D&O) insurance.

Hooghuis has been underwriting D&O business for Hudson and OdysseyRe affiliates for 10 years. In 2004, Hudson purchased 40 percent of Hooghuis to further align its interests in the business. With this acquisition, Hudson will now fully integrate the Hooghuis operation.

James J. Hooghuis, chairman and chief executive officer of Hooghuis, joins Hudson as an executive vice president and chief underwriting officer of Hudson Financial Products. All employees of Hooghuis will join Hudson and continue to work from their existing locations in Mineola, N.Y., and Farmington, Conn.

Hudson Insurance Group, based in Stamford, Conn., specializes in primary and excess insurance coverages through Hudson Programs, Hudson Healthcare and Hudson Financial Products. Hudson provides admitted and non-admitted insurance predominantly through Hudson Insurance Co. and Hudson Specialty Insurance Co.

Peerless in Massachusetts

Keene, N.H.-based Peerless Insurance said it has issued its first Massachusetts personal auto insurance policy in more than 20 years.

The company, part of Liberty Mutual Group, announced in November it would re-enter the state’s personal auto insurance market under the new system of managed competition.

The policy was sold through Berkshire Insurance Group Inc., an agency in western Massachusetts with 10 locations. Berkshire is one of 10 pilot agencies currently selling coverage through Peerless. Peerless said it has agency distribution in 250 locations in the Bay State.

Peerless said it will increase its agent force over the coming years, and has plans to add as many as 40 Massachusetts-based employees to its claims, underwriting, marketing and information technology operations by 2010.

National Atlantic, Palisades

National Atlantic Holdings Corp., parent of Proformance Insurance, reported that its shareholders have approved the proposed merger with Palisades Safety and Insurance Association of Berkley Heights, N.J., with 72 percent voting in favor.

The transaction remains subject to New Jersey regulatory approval. The closing is expected to occur in the third quarter of 2008.

Under the terms of the agreement, each outstanding share of common stock of National Atlantic will be canceled and converted into the right to receive $6.25 in cash per share.

Both insurers write only in New Jersey. The Palisades Group is the fifth largest personal automobile carrier in New Jersey. It is a member of the Massachusetts-based Plymouth Rock group of companies.

In addition to Proformance Insurance Co., NAHC’s subsidiaries include Mayfair Reinsurance Co., Riverview Professional Services and the National Atlantic Insurance Agency.

NAHC offers private passenger automobile, homeowners, and personal excess (umbrella) and specialty property liability coverage. For businesses, the company’s offerings include commercial general liability, and business auto, as well as claims administrative services to self-insured corporations.

National Atlantic distributes its products through independent insurance agents, who are required to become shareholders in National Atlantic in order to represent the company as an agent.

Arbella Mutual in N.H. and Conn.

The Arbella Insurance Group has begun selling commercial policies in New Hampshire and Connecticut, doubling the number of New England states where the Massachusetts-based insurer sells commercial insurance.

Arbella is offering commercial auto, property, liability, workers compensation and other commercial lines through its existing independent agents in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Arbella said it intends to eventually build a force of locally based independent agents in those states.

The company writes personal and business insurance in Massachusetts, business insurance in Rhode Island, and personal — insurance in Connecticut. It is the third-largest personal auto insurer ance in Massachusetts, where it is now competing under a new managed competition system.

Nearly 20 percent of Arbella’s overall business comes from commercial insurance products and it is a market that is growing.

It markets some of its homeowners products in Massachusetts under its affiliate Commonwealth Mutual and personal auto in Connecticut under the name Covenant Insurance.

Oracle, Skywire

California-based software giant Oracle is further expanding its stake in the insurance industry by agreeing to acquire the insurance software and document management business of Skywire Software.

Skywire Software’s insurance software helps insurers manage the life cycle of an insurance policy, including insurance policy creation, rating, insurance agent/broker management and information exchange solutions.

It’s the second insurance software firm targeted by Oracle this year. In May, Oracle agreed to acquire AdminServer, a Chester, Pa.-based provider of insurance policy administration software.

With Skywire Software and the pending acquisition of AdminServer, Oracle is expected to accelerate the formation of a complete software suite for the insurance enterprise.

Skywire, which is based in Frisco, Texas, reports having 1,450 insurance customers, which will add to Oracle’s existing base of over 1,000 insurers.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2008. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

OneBeacon, Entertainment Brokers

OneBeacon Insurance Group has agreed to acquire Entertainment Brokers International Insurance Services, a California managing agency specializing in the entertainment, sports and leisure industries.

The sale is expected to close early in the third quarter.

EBI has locations in Los Angeles and New York City. In addition to professional liability coverages, EBI also provides excess workers compensation coverages as a wholesaler from its Westlake Village, California office.

The firm will continue to operate as a managing agency with a network of 500 independent agents and brokers. OneBeacon said that its agents will also have access to EBI’s products.

The company said that most business produced by EBI will convert to OneBeacon upon renewal.

Beacon Mutual in R.I.

Beacon Mutual Insurance Co., Rhode Island’s largest workers’ compensation carrier, will implement a 7.2 percent average decrease in rates that has been approved by the Department of Business Regulation.

The average rate reduction of 7.2 percent will result in approximately $10 million in premium savings, the company said. The new rates will be effective for policies issued or renewed effective Oct. 1, 2008.

This will be the third consecutive rate reduction. James V. Rosati, president, credited reductions in claims frequency and the efficient management of claim costs for the savings.


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