Business Moves

Western Mutual, Farmers Home Mutual

Western National Insurance Group (WNIG) plans to merge Western National Mutual Insurance Co. and Farmers Home Mutual Insurance Co. into a single company under the surviving name of Western National Mutual Insurance Co. Western National Mutual previously acquired control of Farmers Home Mutual in an affiliation agreement completed in June 2006.

The Board of Directors of both Western National Mutual and Farmers Home Mutual approved the plan of merger during meetings held on June 12 and 13. Following approval by policyholders at special meetings in September, the plan will be submitted to the Minnesota Commerce Department for approval. WNIG anticipates the merger to be effective Dec. 31, 2007.

Western National Insurance Group currently consists of five regional property and casualty insurance companies with shared administrative offices in Edina, Minn. Western National Mutual Insurance Co. writes personal and commercial lines in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota and Iowa.

North Pointe Holdings, Capital City

Michigan-based North Pointe Holdings Corp. closed its acquisition of Capital City Holding Company Inc. The transaction included the purchase of a property and casualty insurance holding company located in South Carolina, as well as Davis-Garvin Holdings Inc., Capital Excess & Surplus Brokers Inc., Southeastern Claims Services Inc., Safeco Products Inc. and certain affiliates. The purchase price for the Capital City entities was $41 million.

Capital City Holding Company Inc. owns Capital City Insurance Co., a South Carolina property and casualty insurance company that specializes in workers’ compensation and other commercial specialty coverages for the forestry industry and other “main street” commercial risks. The Capital City companies offer property and casualty insurance generally to individuals and small- to- medium sized businesses in the southeastern U. S., and perform insurance agency and other ancillary services in connection with their insurance activities.

Rated “B++” by A.M. Best, Capital City has a network of 130 independent agents, as well as two affiliates that serve as product distributors. For the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2006, Capital City reported approximately $64 million in gross written premiums, and over $180 million in total assets, according to the company.

North Pointe Holdings is a property and casualty insurer that markets both specialty commercial and personal insurance products.

Rockhill, Plaza Insurance Co.

Rockhill Holdings acquired Plaza Insurance Co. (PIC), formerly National Alliance Insurance Co. PIC is a Missouri-domiciled property/
casualty insurer admitted in 38 jurisdictions. Initial lines of business for PIC will be specialty surety and other specialty property and casualty product lines.

Rockhill Holding Co., headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., is an insurance conglomerate serving specialty niches including southeast wind, earthquake/DIC, residential contractors in various western states and commercial umbrella.

General Casualty, QBE Insurance Group

The previously announced purchase of Wisconsin-based insurer General Casualty, its U.S. holding company, and sister company Unigard Insurance Group of Bellevue, Wash., by Australia-based QBE Insurance Group was completed May 31.

QBE, based in Australia, announced completion of the $1.16 billion transaction with Paris-based AXA Group after all regulatory approvals were secured. The acquisition, originally announced in January, involves the U.S. affiliates formerly owned by the Swiss-based Winterthur Insurance Group, which AXA purchased last year.

In a separate transaction, QBE acquired the Praetorian Financial Group, a specialty insurer in New York.

Gallagher, Woods & Grooms

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. has acquired Woods & Grooms Inc. of Columbus, Ind. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Woods & Grooms is a retail insurance broker and group captive administrator, offering risk management, commercial property/casualty insurance services and captive management services to the diesel engine distribution industry. Phillip L. Woods, Michael W. Willett and their associates will continue in their present roles from their current location under the direction of David J. McManus, president of Artex Risk Solutions Inc., Gallagher & Co.’s international captive subsidiary.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., is an international insurance brokerage and risk management services firm headquartered in Itasca, Ill.