Business Moves

May 17, 2010

Western National, American Mutual

Western National Insurance Group of Edina, Minn., plans to affiliate with Wisconsin American Mutual Insurance Co. of Fond du Lac, Wis. The transaction is expected to close before fall 2010.

Wisconsin American is expected to continue to operate locally in Wisconsin as a separate entity writing personal and commercial lines, under the management and control of Western National.

Western National is a super regional property and casualty insurance group that writes more than $240 million in direct premium in 10 states.

The group consists of four active companies – Western National Mutual Insurance Co., Western National Assurance Co., Pioneer Specialty Insurance Co., and Titan Property & Casualty Insurance Co. – that operate in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin. All of the group’s products are sold exclusively through professional independent agents.

Wisconsin American Mutual is a single-state property/casualty insurance company writing select commercial and personal lines.

National Interstate, Vanliner

National Interstate Corp., headquartered in Richfield, Ohio, announced that its principal insurance subsidiary, National Interstate Insurance Co., will acquire Fenton, Mo.-based Vanliner Insurance Co., a subsidiary of UniGroup Inc.

Vanliner provides insurance for the moving and storage industry. Under the agreement, National Interstate will pay approximately $125 million to $135 million in cash, which represents Vanliner’s tangible book value at closing.

UniGroup has agreed to provide National Interstate with comprehensive financial guarantees related to the runoff of Vanliner’s balance sheet following the close whereby both favorable and unfavorable balance sheet development inures to UniGroup.

National Interstate does not expect the transaction to have a material effect on 2010 earnings. Beginning in 2011, the acquisition is expected to be accretive to earnings and return on shareholders’ equity.

Vanliner wrote approximately $104 million of gross moving and storage premiums in 2009, representing approximately 58 percent of its total business.

A closing is anticipated in the 2010 second quarter subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

At closing, National Interstate and UniGroup will enter into a five-year agreement whereby Vanliner will remain the exclusively endorsed insurance provider for UniGroup’s affiliated Mayflower Transit and United Van Lines moving and storage agents.

Vanliner will operate from its current offices in Fenton, a suburb of St. Louis.

A.M. Best Co. commented that the financial strength rating of “A” (Excellent) and issuer credit rating (ICR) of “a+” of National Interstate Group and its members and the ICR of “bbb+” of the group’s publicly traded parent, National Interstate Corp., are unchanged.

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Insurance Journal West May 17, 2010
May 17, 2010
Insurance Journal West Magazine

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