Business Moves

September 22, 2008

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Wm. W. George & Associates

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. has acquired Dallas-based retail insurance broker Wm. W. George & Associates Inc. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Established in 1972, Wm. W. George & Associates provides commercial property/casualty, workers’ compensation and risk management services, as well as a wide range of employee benefit consulting/administration and brokerage services to clients in the United States.

The firm specializes in the construction, real estate, financial institution, legal, not-for-profit and temporary staffing industries with a focus on mid to large sized accounts.

William George, Warren Petersen and their associates will continue to operate in their Dallas location under the direction of Michael Henthorn, South Central Regional manager of Gallagher’s retail property/casualty brokerage operation.

Hallmark Financial Services, Heath Group

Texas-based Hallmark Financial Services Inc. acquired 80 percent of the outstanding membership interests in Heath XS LLC and Hardscrabble Data Solutions LLC (Heath Group) for cash consideration of $15 million. The transaction was completed using existing holding company capital.

The Heath Group is a Basking Ridge, N.J.-based underwriting facility that annually produces approximately $50 million of lower hazard, middle market, excess commercial automobile and commercial umbrella risks on both an admitted and non-admitted basis through a network of wholesalers throughout the United States.

Jeffrey L. Heath, an insurance industry veteran with over 30 years of reinsurance and excess underwriting experience, founded the Heath Group and its predecessor entity in 1991. Philo Smith & Co. acted as exclusive financial advisor and broker to Heath Group on this transaction.

Hudson Insurance Group, CropUSA

Hudson Insurance Group, the U.S. insurance division of Odyssey Re Holdings Corp., has purchased the assets pertaining to the crop insurance business of CropUSA Insurance Agency Inc.

Since 2006 CropUSA has acted as managing general underwriter for Hudson in the crop insurance sector. As a result of this transaction, Hudson has hired the staff and acquired the portfolio of CropUSA. The business will now operate under the brand Hudson Crop, and will continue to be led by Kent Petersen, previously the president of CropUSA.

Hudson has been approved to sell multi peril crop insurance for the 2009 crop year by the RMA, the managing agency for the Federal Crop Insurance Corp. Hudson Crop will also write related products, including crop hail and named peril crop insurance.

Hudson Insurance Group 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.

InsurBanc

InsurBanc is offering special short-term loans to independent insurance agencies for expenses related to floods, hurricanes and other catastrophes. InsurBanc is offering this program to qualifying agency principals — for example, those agencies affected by the recent storms on the Gulf Coast.

“Agency owners affected by the recent storms may have special financing needs for several months after a natural disaster. Rather than tapping into personal assets and credit cards — or waiting for government funds to become available — an agency can turn to InsurBanc for short-term financing for repairs and extraordinary expenses related to reopening and operating the agency,” noted Robert Pettinicchi, chief lending officer of InsurBanc.

InsurBanc is headquartered in Farmington, Conn., and is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The bank, which operates in all 50 states, was jointly developed by the 300,000-member Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA), Alexandria, Va., and the W. R. Berkley Corporation, Greenwich, Conn., an insurance holding company.

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Insurance Journal West September 22, 2008
September 22, 2008
Insurance Journal West Magazine

Agency Technology; High Risk Property/Catastrophe Risks; Digital Product Guide