Business Moves

September 1, 2008

Aon Corporation, Benfield Group

Chicago-based Aon Corporation and UK-based broker Benfield Group Limited reached agreement for Aon to acquire Benfield for £3.50 ($6.55) per share in cash and assume £91 million ($170 million) of Benfield net debt, representing an enterprise value of approximately £935 million ($1.75 billion) on a fully diluted basis.

“The consideration represents a 29 percent premium to Benfield’s closing stock price on August 21, 2008, the last trading day prior to the announcement of the agreement,” said Aon’s bulletin.

Benfield is a leading independent reinsurance intermediary. The company took its present form in 2001, when UK-broker Benfield Greig acquired Dallas-based E.W. Blanch Holdings. Renamed “Benfield,” it is generally ranked as the third largest reinsurance broker. Aon said it “intends to integrate the Benfield business with its existing reinsurance operations (Aon Re Global) and operate the division globally under the newly created Aon Benfield Re brand.”

Meadowbrook Insurance, ProCentury

Meadowbrook Insurance Group Inc., a specialty property and casualty insurance holding company based in Southfield, Mich., announced the merger of ProCentury Corporation, a Columbus, Ohio-based specialty property and casualty insurance holding company has been finalized and closed.

Meadowbrook’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Robert S. Cubbin, said, “… the diverse products and distribution systems of our two specialty lines insurance companies will create opportunities and synergies that did not exist prior to the merger.”

Meadowbrook is known for its program expertise, while ProCentury has earned a reputation for a growing portfolio of products in the excess and surplus lines markets. The combined strategy of the two companies is to create an organization that remains a full-service specialty lines company with a program focus that now offers full-service excess and surplus lines capabilities, Cubbin said.

There are very few redundancies between the two firms. Meadowbrook’s programs and ProCentury’s products and wholesale agent distribution systems do not overlap.

Heffernan Insurance Brokers

Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Heffernan Insurance Brokers opened a new branch office in the Chicago area. Jim Howard, senior vice president will be the Chicago branch manager, and will be charged with new business development in the Chicago area and greater Midwest region for both property/casualty and employee benefits business.

Prior to joining Heffernan, Howard was an area executive vice president for Arthur J. Gallagher. His prior experience also includes senior positions at Country Companies Insurance. Howard’s specialty is religious programs, but the branch will target all nonprofits, as well as the hospitality industry and healthcare. The Chicago branch office is located at 749 South 8th Street, West Dundee, Ill. 60118.

Heffernan Insurance Brokers also has opened a new branch office in Chesterfield, Mo. Tom Hebson, formerly of Tangram Insurance Services Inc., will manage the branch and its growing team in its pursuit of property and casualty business and financial services, including life, health and employee benefits.

The goal, according to the Heffernan statement, is to continue to grow the company’s presence in the self-insurance and alternative market areas, both in the St. Louis area and nationally through its self insured practice led by Louis “Buz” Midden in Nashville.

The Chesterfield branch was formerly a branch office of Tangram Insurance Services Inc., an alternative market provider, also part of the Heffernan Group. All former Tangram employees in Chesterfield and Nashville are now employees of Heffernan Insurance Brokers.

Brown & Brown, Great Lakes Risk Management

Brown & Brown Inc. announced the asset acquisition of Great Lakes Risk Management Inc., of Toledo, Ohio, by a subsidiary of Brown & Brown. Great Lakes Risk Management, with annual revenues of approximately $1 million, provides group health, life, disability and other employee benefits insurance products and services for businesses and non-profit organizations throughout Ohio, Michigan and the upper-Midwestern United States.

Hylant Group

Toledo, Ohio-based Hylant Group, a privately held commercial insurance brokerage firm, has recently expanded into the Chicago market with its 12th office, located at 303 West Madison Ave. Thomas O’Connell, who brings more than 30 years of industry experience, has been named office president. Hylant Group is a full-service business insurance brokerage with 12 offices in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Tennessee.

GNY Insurance

GNY Insurance Companies has begun writing in the state of Michigan as it continues to expand in the Midwest. GNY is a group comprised of Greater New York Mutual Insurance Co., Insurance Company of Greater New York, Strathmore Insurance, and GNY Custom Insurance Co., a surplus-lines company.

GNY, which is licensed to do business in 44 states and the District of Columbia, expanded into the Midwest early in 2007 with Illinois.

Lloyds, Amlin Illinois

Lloyd’s insurer Amlin has opened an office in Chicago. Amlin Illinois Inc. will work within the existing Lloyd’s infrastructure, utilizing the Lloyd’s license in Illinois to write admitted business which may not otherwise reach the London market. The Amlin Illinois office opened in early August.

Paul Glenton was named vice president of the new operation which will specialize in property/casualty, auto and marine cargo business. Glenton will report to Amlin Illinois President David Harris.

In 2002, Glenton helped set up Navigators’ Midwest property/casualty operation, which has now expanded beyond the original six U.S. states, but remains centered on Illinois.

Amlin plc is a recognized leader in the London insurance and reinsurance market, providing a global client base with risk management solutions, according to the Amlin statement.

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Insurance Journal West September 1, 2008
September 1, 2008
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Salute to Surplus Lines Brokers/NAPSLO; London Report; Top Workers’ Comp Writers