Business Moves

June 7, 2010

Fairfax, Zenith National Insurance

Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. and California-based Zenith National Insurance Corp. announced that Fairfax has received approval from the California Department of Insurance for the acquisition by Fairfax of Zenith pursuant to the previously announced merger agreement.

Zenith will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Fairfax, and will continue to be operated by current management under the leadership of CEO Stanley Zax, with the exception of investments, which will be handled by Fairfax.

Barney & Barney, Virtual Cosourcing Solutions

San Diego-based Barney & Barney acquired Virtual Cosourcing Solutions and hired its CEO Stan Lambert as a principal. Lambert launched the firm’s Specialty Services Division to provide the firm a platform to deliver consumer insurance offerings, as well as to promote improved business processes within the firm’s Employee Benefits division. Expanded services will include extended customer service hours, online enrollment services, and an online purchasing portal.

“This acquisition and the addition of Stan Lambert, his team and the launch of our Specialty Services Division is a key part of our growth strategy,” said Managing Principal and CEO Paul Hering.

“As the health insurance model undergoes transition prompted by health care reform, this provides Barney & Barney a broader platform to serve the growing segment of seniors and individuals seeking health care coverage, as well as employers who may purchase group coverage through an exchange type model in the future,” said Principal Shawn Pynes, who heads the firm’s Employee Benefits division.

Prior to joining Barney & Barney, Lambert was the CEO of Virtual Cosourcing Solutions, which offered insurance companies end-to-end services such as sales, new member programs, service, retention and medical billings. He has more than 17 years of industry experience, including senior leadership positions with PacifiCare Health Systems and Kaiser Permanente.

Mercury Insurance, Personal Lines Growth Alliance

The Personal Lines Growth Alliance (PLGA), a coalition within the independent agency system, announced that Mercury Insurance Group is a founding financial partner.

Los Angeles-based Mercury Insurance Group is the first insurance carrier to become a financial partner, according to PLGA Chair Steve Brooks, also president of Steve Brooks Insurance Services based in Westlake Village, Calif.

“Our singular mission at PLGA is to work with the entire industry to grow the independent agency channel market share in personal lines,” Brooks said. “This is a coordinated communications movement to invigorate independent agency attitudes on personal lines. And we are extremely pleased to welcome Mercury as our first financial partner to help agents and their business allies capture personal lines.”

“The personal lines market represents more than $230 billion in premium, and the PLGA will provide independent agents and brokers with a platform to capture an increasing share of this market,” said Brandt Minnich, vice president of marketing for Mercury Insurance Group.

Mercury is a multi-line insurance organization offering predominantly personal automobile and homeowners insurance through a network of independent agents and brokers in California, Florida, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona, New York, Georgia, Oklahoma, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The Personal Lines Growth Alliance launched in February 2010 as a virtual association dedicated to improving the competitiveness of the independent agency distribution channel. The Alliance is backed by more than 200 independent agencies and brokers, trade associations and user groups, national and regional carriers, and technology providers.

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Insurance Journal West June 7, 2010
June 7, 2010
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