Business Moves

January 25, 2009

Westfield Insurance, NGM Insurance Co.

Westfield Insurance will transfer its personal lines business in Delaware to The Main Street America Group’s NGM Insurance Co., Main Street said.

Westfield, which is headquartered in Westfield Center, Ohio, entered Delaware in 2000 through the acquisition of Old Guard. Westfield will continue to write middle market, small business accounts, agribusiness and surety in the state.

The new business represents approximately $7 million in annual premium. The transfer of personal auto, homeowners and umbrella renewals is targeted for early second quarter 2009. Main Street America expectsseveral new agent appointments over the next few months.

NIF Group, HDR Insurance Services

Manhasset, New York-based specialty insurance firm NIF Group has acquired HDR Insurance Services of Sacramento, California.

HDR specializes in providing innovative programs for independent agents. HDR will continue to operate from its Sacramento location. NIF delivers capabilities in program administration, general agency, wholesale brokerage, professional liability and personal lines for insurance agents.

AFCO Credit, Cananwill

AFCO Credit Corp. plans to buy the domestic operations and assets of the premium finance business of Cananwill from Aon Corp.

Glenview, Illinois-based Cananwill provides insurance premium financing for commercial property and casualty policies. It was founded in 1937.

AFCO is the primary insurance premium finance subsidiary of Branch Banking and Trust Co., the principal subsidiary of Winston-Salem, North Caroina-based BB&T Corp. Pending regulatory approval, the AFCO purchase is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter. Terms were not disclosed.

The Hartford, Lincoln National

The U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision approved applications from Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. and Lincoln National Corp. to become bank holding companies, an important step toward these companies obtaining federal cash.

Hartford, the large life and property insurer that has been among the hardest hit by investment losses, and Lincoln, one of the United States’ largest life insurers, have applied to take part in the U.S. Treasury Department’s $250 billion capital injection program. The program is designed for banks, but insurers with a federally regulated unit are eligible to apply.

Some life insurers, including the largest U.S. life insurer MetLife and No. 2 Prudential Financial Inc, have federally regulated units. Others, including Hartford, Lincoln and about half a dozen others, are buying small banks in order to comply with the regulation.

Hartford, which posted a record $2.6 billion loss in the third quarter on investment losses, has said it could be eligible for up to $3.4 billion if approved for the federal program. Hartford, based in Hartford, Conn., plans to buy Federal Trust Bank in Sanford, Florida, for $10 million.

Markel, Child Welfare Insurance Services

Markel Insurance Co. has acquired the property and casualty insurance renewal rights of Child Welfare Insurance Services.

Rhonda Sciortino, founder and chief executive officer of Child Welfare Insurance Services in Rancho Cucamonga, California, joins Markel as business development specialist to expand the insurance, risk management, and loss control services provided to nonprofit businesses that serve the needs of disadvantaged children.

Child Welfare Insurance Services has been a producing broker for Markel since 2000. Underwriting will continue from the Richmond, Virginia and Alameda, California offices of Markel.

Brown & Brown, Preferred Insurance Services

Florida-based Brown & Brown Inc. has acquired the assets of Phoenix, Arizona-based Preferred Insurance Services LLC.

Preferred Insurance Services, with annualized revenues of approximately $1.3 million, focuses on property/casualty and benefits insurance for individuals and businesses in Phoenix and throughout the United States.

Gary F. Hapip, Craig S. King and Gary R. Honea, the members and managers of Preferred Insurance Services, and their staff will combine their agency operations with that of Brown & Brown’s existing Phoenix office, under the leadership of John Slater.

Glatfelter Insurance Group, Professional Underwriters

York, Pennsylvania-based insurance broker Glatfelter Insurance Group has acquired Professional Underwriters Co. of Exton, Pa. for an undisclosed sum.

Glatfelter is one of the largest insurance brokerages in the country; Professional Underwriters is a national program administrator for public entities.

In connection with the acquisition, John Solari will be promoted to executive vice president and chief underwriting officer of Glatfelter’s Public Practice division, and along with his team, will continue to operate out of Exton, Pa.

HCC, VMGU Insurance

Houston-based specialty insurer HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc. has acquired VMGU Insurance Agency, an underwriter of the lumber, building materials, forest products and woodworking industries.

The acquisition, along with recently announced transactions in the public risk insurance sector, will further extend HCC’s reach in the specialty commercial package insurance market.

Based in Waltham, Massachusetts, VMGU says it is the only lumber and wood products underwriter that operates on a national basis in all 50 states.

VMGU, which is expected to write approximately $20 million in gross written premium in 2009, will become part of HCC’s Professional Indemnity Agency subsidiary. VMGU is headed by President Richard D. Hayes, who will remain with the operation.

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