Business Moves

October 4, 2010

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.

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

Several members of the Hiscox team are expected to join Markel as part of its Equine and 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.

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

Majestic Capital,

Bayside Capital Partners

Workers’ compensation provider Majestic Capital Ltd. entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Bermuda-based Bayside Capital Partners LLC for $0.45 per share in cash, or an aggregate purchase price of approximately $7.8 million.

The purchase price represents a premium of 105 percent to Majestic Capital’s closing price on Sept. 21, 2010, of $0.22.

Bayside Capital Partners is a holding company, the principal members of which are Lancer Financial Group Inc., David and Timothy Delaney, and individuals who are, in some cases, shareholders of Lancer Financial.

The transaction is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2011. The transaction is subject to the approval of Majestic Capital’s shareholders, regulatory approvals, adoption of certain amendments to the governing documents of Majestic Capital’s Trust Preferred Securities, modification of Majestic Capital’s lease for office space in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on terms that are acceptable to Bayside Capital Partners, and other customary closing conditions, the companies said.

Lancer Financial has provided a financing commitment to Bayside Capital Partners for the full amount of the merger consideration.

Macquarie Capital (USA) Inc. is acting as the financial advisors to Majestic Capital. LMC Capital LLC provided a fairness opinion to Majestic Capital’s board of directors and its Special Transaction Committee of independent directors.

PMA, Capital, Old Republic

Shareholders of Pennsylvania-based PMA Capital Corp. approved an acquisition by Old Republic International Corp. PMA Capital President and CEO Vincent T. Donnelly, and all other current PMA officers, agreed to terminate their severance agreements upon the closing of the merger. All of these officers expect to continue in similar executive positions under the new ownership.

PMA is the holding company for several subsidiaries that specialize in property/casualty insurance, third-party administration and other fee-based services.

The merger is a stock-swap transaction valued at around $365 million.

Bolton & Co., BAN

Pasadena, Calif.-based Bolton & Co. joined Benefit Advisors Network (BAN), a national network of independent benefit advisory and consulting companies. To be admitted to BAN, firms go through a screening process that focuses on industry knowledge, ethics, business acumen and vision, according to BAN Director Deane Elek.

Commercial Program Insurance Services

A new managing general agent facility has formed in Pasadena, Calif. Under the leadership of President Robert Markese and Senior Vice President Hal Thompson, the new company – called Commercial Program Insurance Services – will offer specialized programs, commercial general liability, property, excess, vacant building coverage, professional liability, builders risk, OL&T, workers’ compensation, earthquake and difference in conditions coverage.

Markese has more than 20 years of experience in the insurance industry. Thompson has more than 13 years of industry experience.

Wylie Insurance, Iroquois Group

Wylie Insurance of Modesto, Calif., joined The Iroquois Group. According to agency principal Alisa Bierria-Wylie, Wylie Insurance was founded in 2007 and offers auto, home, life, health, commercial and retirement planning products.

ISU International, ISU L/P

ISU International welcomed ISU L/P Insurance Services to the ISU Network.

ISU L/P Insurance Services, a 40-employee agency in Reno, Nev., was launched by President Nick Rossi on September 1.

The company is a full-service insurance brokerage. Rossi brings with him 30 years of insurance experience.

`The ISU Network, headquartered in San Francisco, consists of more than 100 independently owned and operated offices.

NorthWest Insurance, Leavitt Group

The Crescent City, Calif., and Grants Pass, Ore., locations of NorthWest Insurance Agency have joined the Leavitt Group to form Redwoods Leavitt Insurance Agency based in Crescent City, Calif. Bill Cochran is the managing local co-owner of the new agency.

Cochran has been in the insurance industry for 32 years. Most recently, he was a commercial broker and shareholder with NorthWest Insurance Agency.

The Grants Pass location has been serving clients since the 1940s.

Burnie Gillespie House of Insurance and staff joined NorthWest Insurance in November 2008. Cochran opened the Crescent City branch for NorthWest Insurance in 1994.

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Insurance Journal West October 4, 2010
October 4, 2010
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