Business Moves

June 21, 2010

Marsh & McLennan, Kroll, Altegrity

Marsh & McLennan Cos Inc. agreed to sell investigations unit Kroll to a firm led by former Marsh CEO Michael Cherkasky for less than the insurance broker paid for Kroll six years ago. MMC plans to sell Kroll – a corporate sleuth and intelligence expert that has expanded into risk management and other areas – to Altegrity in a $1.13 billion all-cash deal. MMC bought Kroll in 2004 for $1.9 billion.

Altegrity is backed by private equity firm Providence Equity Partners. The deal means Cherkasky, chief executive of Altegrity, will be reunited with Kroll, which he led from 2001 to 2004. Cherkasky was ousted as MMC CEO in late 2007 after producing disappointing results.

Cherkasky took over MMC in 2004 in the middle of a bid-rigging scandal in which the company faced charges from then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Cherkasky, a friend of Spitzer, worked with him in the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

Cherkasky joined Altegrity in 2008. In 2009 he hired former Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton to lead Altegrity’s security consulting unit. Following the merger, the companies will have a combined 11,000 employees.

The deal is expected to close by late September.

Swett & Crawford, Cooper Gay

London-based independent wholesale, reinsurance and specialist broker Cooper Gay and Atlanta-based U.S. wholesale broker Swett & Crawford confirmed they are in advanced deal discussions.

Plans call for combining the two companies into a new group holding company, which will retain a high proportion of ownership by the working employees. Management of the combined group would be led by Cooper Gay’s CEO Toby Esser as group chief executive.

Neal Abernathy would continue to be the chief executive of Swett & Crawford, with Cooper Gay’s North American businesses reporting to him.

Completion of the transaction would be subject to regulatory approvals. According to Swett & Crawford and Cooper Gay, their combined business would become the world’s largest independent global wholesale and reinsurance broker.

Cooper Gay and Swett & Crawford together place some $3.5 billion in premiums in the London, U.S. and international insurance markets and employ over 1,500 staff in more than 60 offices across four continents.

Preferred Concepts, Mercator Risk Services

Preferred Concepts, a national program administrator, announced it has acquired of Mercator Risk Services, a wholesale broker.

Mercator Risk Services is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Preferred Concepts and will continue to trade under the Mercator Risk Services brand.

Preferred Concepts is a privately held organization formed in 1989. It operates out of four offices in New York City, Irvine, California and Westport and Hamden, Connecticut.

The combined company, with 85 employees in Atlanta, Hartford, New York, San Francisco and Westport, Conn., will remain headquartered in New York.

In January 2006, equity firm Stone Point Capital acquired a minority interest in Preferred Concepts and its affiliates. Stone Point Capital was also behind the formation of Mercator Risk Services in January 2006.

The management team of Mercator has been led by John Addeo as chairman and Christopher Treanor as president and chief executive officer. Addeo is the former CEO of Alliant Resources. Treanor was formerly CEO of Marsh’s worldwide placement operations. Treanor will continue in his role as president and CEO of Mercator Risk Services and as senior executive vice president of Preferred Concepts.

OneBeacon, Lawyers’ Professional

OneBeacon Professional Insurance has entered into an exclusive arrangement with USI Affinity to administer its Lawyers’ Professional Liability (LPL) insurance program, which provides liability protection solutions for law firms with up to 20 lawyers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

This arrangement coincides with a series of enhancements to OneBeacon’s LPL coverage. “Leveraging the relationships USI Affinity has developed will greatly enhance our presence in key, targeted markets” and “will enable us to more effectively deliver on our commitment to making the professional insurance experience entirely better,” said Kim Pihlstrom, senior vice president of OneBeacon’s lawyers’ and real estate division.

Arnol Kaplan, president and chief operating officers of Professional Insurance Solutions, USI Affinity added that “OneBeacon “is a perfect match for us. Their customer-focused approach to doing business is something our clients look for We feel strongly that together, we can offer a unique solution in the marketplace.”

Hub, Irus Corp.

Insurance brokerage Hub International Ltd. has acquired the assets of Pennsylvania-based employee benefits firm Irus Corp.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. In connection with the deal, some Irus employees will become part of the Hub’s Northeast Ltd. team and will move into Hub’s existing office in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.

Frank Spezzano, president of IRUS, will join Hub as part of this acquisition.

Irus’ client base includes southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, with a large concentration in private schools and other educational institutions.

WAHVE

A new company that offers domestic, remote staffing services for insurance agencies and brokerages has opened in New York.

Work At Home Vintage Employees (WAHVE) says its business model is to employ skilled insurance industry retirees located throughout the United States to provide services that enable agencies and brokers to improve profitability.

WAHVE says it can save agencies 40 percent on staffing and overhead costs.

Sharon Emek, co-founder, president and CEO of WAHVE, said the venture helps tap a growing pool of professional retirees to help streamline efficiency.

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Insurance Journal West June 21, 2010
June 21, 2010
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