Business Moves

October 18, 2010

IMS, London American Risk Specialists

IMS Insurance Market Solutions acquired Houston-based London American Risk Specialists Inc. effective Sept. 1, 2010. The combined entity will become IMS/London American and will be one of the largest independent multi-line managing general agencies in the Southwest.

“This combination brings together over 1,500 agency producers and provides them with access to more than 50 brokerage markets and 10 domestic and Lloyds’ binding facilities,” said IMS President Larry Mennes.

IMS was founded in 2005 by Mennes and Stephen Vallender. London American was founded in 1984 and has offices in Houston and Dallas. Current owner, Brady Carruth will still be involved with IMS/LondonAmerican as director and equity participant.

ProAssurance, American Physicians

ProAssurance Corp., headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., and Austin, Texas-based American Physicians Service Group Inc. (APS) announced that ProAssurance plans to acquire all the outstanding shares of APS in an all-cash transaction for $32.50 per share.

The transaction is expected to close by year-end. ProAssurance Chairman and CEO W. Stancil Starnes said the acquisition gives ProAssurance a strong market presence in the medical professional liability insurance market in Texas where APS is the second-largest writer.

Starnes added that, “APS’ growth in Oklahoma and Arkansas complements our long-term commitment to those two markets. Financially, we anticipate this transaction will be accretive to our 2011 earnings, before one-time transaction and any restructuring costs.”

APS’ board of directors unanimously approved the merger and resolved to recommend that APS shareholders vote in favor of the transaction. The transaction is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory and APS’ shareholder approval. There is no financing condition to consummate the transaction. Shareholder approval is not required for ProAssurance.

Woodlands Financial Group

The Woodlands Financial Group Inc. (TWFG), a retail and managing general agency specializing in property/casualty and life/health insurance and financial planning, opened three new branch locations in Texas.

Darrell Barfield and Tom Sowell opened a new branch location in Frisco.

Barfield comes to TWFG with more than 27 years in the insurance industry with Allstate. He holds his series 6 and 63 licenses and was in the Honor Ring, Conference Winner and received many awards for loss and renewal ratio with Allstate.

Sowell comes to TWFG with more than 23 years in the insurance business, also with Allstate. He was key manager for 10 years, Chairman’s for three years and Inner Circle for a year.

Jon Chen opened a new branch location in Houston. Chen comes to TWFG with more than five years in the insurance industry, most recently with Farmers and AIG.

Jose Trevino also opened up a new branch location in Houston. Trevino comes to TWFG with more than 18 years in the insurance industry, most of which were with Farmers starting at the age of 18 working at an uncle’s independent agency.

U.S. Risk, Unisource Program Adminstrators

U.S. Risk, a privately owned specialty lines underwriting manager and wholesale broker headquartered in Dallas, acquired Sarasota, Fla.-based Unisource Program Administrators.

The acquisition doubles the size of U.S Risk’s workers’ compensation written premium and adds four A-rated national carriers to its lineup of workers’ compensation markets. Unisource brings more than a decade of workers’ compensation expertise. The acquisition also allows U.S Risk to offer, on a national basis, stand alone monoline workers’ compensation insurance solutions to most industries.

The specialty workers’ compensation office in Sarasota will continue to operate as Unisource Program Administrators. U.S. Risk will gain the ability to offer additional workers’ compensation markets to its network of 4,000 retail producers.

Unisource’s existing distribution network of 1,900 retail producers will benefit from access to the U.S. Risk product portfolio, which offers all forms of property, casualty, automobile, umbrella, professional, and risk management products and services.

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 October 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 members of the Hiscox team are expected to join Markel as part of its 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.

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

Topics USA Texas London

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Insurance Journal West October 18, 2010
October 18, 2010
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