Business Moves

October 4, 2010

Palmer Miller Nelson, Keystone Insurers Group

Palmer Miller Nelson Insurance Agency Inc. (PMN) of Columbus, Ohio, has become Keystone Insurers Group’s 24th franchise partner in Ohio.

In business since 1855, PMN was the first agency appointed by Ohio Farmers Insurance Co. 155 years ago. Ohio Farmers ultimately became Westfield Insurance, and PMN continues to be one of the largest Westfield agents in the country. The agency is currently owned by Steve Miller, Ron Nelson and Andy Palmer.

Founded in 1983 and headquartered in Northumberland, Pa., KIG is owned by its employees and franchise partners in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

Foremost, Bristol West Auto

Foremost Insurance Group announced it has re-branded Bristol West Auto Insurance to the Foremost brand to support the company’s market strategy.

Both Foremost and Bristol West were acquired by Farmers Insurance Group – Foremost in 2000 and Bristol West in 2007. As a part of the decision to place all independent agency business under the Foremost name, the Bristol West brand will be transitioned to Foremost in all states by year end.

“Moving to a single brand for independent insurance agencies and our customers will strengthen recognition in the industry,” said Bob Sadler, vice president of independent agency operations.

Digman Insurance, Iroquois Group

Digman Insurance Services of Ft. Wayne, Ind., joined The Iroquois Group, according to agency principal Stacy Digman.

Digman, who has 13 years of experience as a licensed agent, owned an agency representing one company for eight years before starting her independent agency in August. Through Iroquois, she will now be representing a multitude of companies offering auto, home, business, life and other insurance products.

The Iroquois Group, a network of property and casualty insurance agencies throughout the United States, now lists more than 1,800 member agencies in 37 states.

Sinclair Cockburn, Hub International

Chicago-based insurance broker Hub International Ltd. acquired the shares of Sinclair Cockburn Financial Group (SCFG), a Toronto, Ontario-based insurance and financial services firm with approximately $11 million in annual revenues.

Hub acquired the property/casualty, personal insurance and group/life insurance operations of SCFG, but not SCFG’s mortgage and mutual fund business.

Jim Aston, Kelly Sinclair, and Jim Grieve, SCFG’s three majority shareholders, will all join Hub as part of the transaction. The company said that Grieve, president of Sinclair Cockburn Financial Group, will become part of Hub Ontario’s leadership team, reporting to Neil Morrison, president and CEO of HKMB Hub International Ltd.

Established in Toronto in 1953, SCFG reports having 15,000 customers throughout Canada. In addition to its Toronto headquarters, it also operates out of Pickering, Ontario.

The brokerage specializes in a number of areas, most notably a professional liability unit focused on architects and engineers. Other practice areas include construction, surety, and national programs – horticultural trades, dairies, nonprofits and other retail programs. The personal insurance division includes a private client practice group.

Markel, Hiscox

Insurer Markel acquired the rights to American Live Stock, the animal mortality business of Hiscox Insurance Co.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the companies said they would close the transaction by Oct. 1.

The transaction, which includes the rights to the American Live Stock and Harding & Harding names, calls for Markel to assist Hiscox with its run-off.

Several key members of the Hiscox team are expected to join Markel as part of their Equine & Livestock division. Markel’s Livestock team will be based in Geneva, Ill., but the equine business acquired from Hiscox will be handled by Markel’s divisions in Richmond, Va., and Lexington, Ky.

ACE, Rain and Hail

Insurer ACE will pay $1.1 billion to acquire the outstanding common stock of Iowa-based Rain and Hail Insurance Service Inc., the second-largest crop insurance underwriter in the United States and Canada.

ACE already owns roughly 20 percent of Rain and Hail’s stock. Upon completion of the deal, Rain and Hail will operate as a separate and distinct franchise within ACE Westchester.

ACE Chairman and CEO Evan G. Greenberg said the transaction “is a natural extension of our long-term, valued relationship with Rain and Hail, and our company’s specialty lines focus. The addition of Rain and Hail to the ACE Group is financially attractive to our shareholders.”

The transaction is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval and is expected to be completed by the end of 2010.

MMIC Group

Medical professional liability insurance provider, MMIC Group, recently announced its entry into the Kansas/Missouri marketplace.

According to MMIC President and CEO Bill McDonough, “As consolidation of health-care continues to occur, many of our existing clients are crossing state borders. It was imperative for MMIC to respond to the service needs by becoming licensed and active in states like Kansas and Missouri.”

MMIC Insurance has offered medical professional liability insurance to clinics and hospitals in the upper Midwest since 1980. The company has offices in Des Moines, Iowa, and Omaha, Neb.

After studying the market, MMIC determined Kansas and Missouri are similar to the other Midwest states already served by the company: Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

The company also said agents in the area had expressed interest in a choice in medical professional liability insurance carriers.

As MMIC business grows in Kansas and Missouri, company representatives will be located in those regions.

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Insurance Journal West October 4, 2010
October 4, 2010
Insurance Journal West Magazine

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