Business Moves

November 14, 2010

Ohio Mutual, Casco Indemnity

Ohio Mutual Insurance Group (OMIG) agreed to acquire N.E. Corp. and its wholly-owned subsidiary Casco Indemnity Co., a property and casualty insurer located in Saco, Maine. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

OMIG President and CEO Jim Kennedy said the acquisition is the “largest and first out-of-state acquisition in the company’s 109-year history.”

N.E. Corp. is a holding company jointly owned by the Hingham Group, headquartered in Hingham, Mass., and Phenix Mutual Fire Insurance Co., headquartered in Concord, N.H. Casco Indemnity was formed in 1985 by a consortium of seven New England insurers, and currently offers commercial auto, personal auto, and personal umbrella insurance in six states – Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and South Carolina – through a network of 140 independent agents.

The company had $17.4 million in direct written premium in 2009, reported a statutory surplus of $8.8 million at the end of 2009, and currently holds a “B+” rating from A.M. Best Co. The company currently has 23 associates.

Completion of the transaction is contingent upon receiving approval from the Maine Bureau of Insurance and Ohio Department of Insurance.

Westrope, Midwestern General

Wholesale insurance broker Westrope acquired the assets of Midwestern General Agency, a binding authority and small brokerage operation, based in Kansas City, Mo.

Midwestern General has been in business since 1959 and specializes in the small- to mid-size business segment. It will become a part of the Westrope operations under the name Westrope General Agency (WGA).

Debbie McClendon, previously COO of Schifman, Remley & Associates, accepted the appointment of senior vice president/managing director of Westrope General Agency. McClendon will report to John Klag, executive vice president and COO of Westrope.

Safeco

Safeco Insurance, a member of Liberty Mutual Group, opened its new office in Fenton, Mo. Liberty Mutual also has announced plans to hire 100 additional employees in St. Louis County over the next two years.

With a seven-year lease agreement, Safeco now occupies approximately 54,000 square feet at 1400 South Highway Drive, Suites 100 and 200 West. There are currently about 340 Safeco employees at the location, predominantly composed of the company’s claim services.

The Fenton office is one of 16 Liberty Mutual facilities in Missouri. Safeco’s parent company employs approximately 780 people across the state. Safeco has been operating in the state of Missouri since 1925. The company works with approximately 250 independent insurance agencies throughout Missouri to distribute its personal lines insurance coverages to consumers.

Oak Street Funding; Angelo, Gordon & Co.

Indianapolis-based Oak Street Funding, one of the largest insurance lending firms for the insurance industry and insurance agencies, was acquired by private equity firms managed by the firm Angelo, Gordon & Co., headquartered in New York. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2003, Oak Street serves the financing needs of insurance professionals by providing capital to insurance agents in order to expand their business and increase sales. Oak Street introduced commission-based commercial financing through lending and book acquisition.

The company recorded its best year ever in 2009 and has continued to secure new sources of capital and lend money to a growing number of agents and brokers nationwide.

American Physicians Capital, The Doctors Co.

Health care liability insurance provider American Physicians Capital Inc., based in East Lansing, Mich., completed the merger under which APCapital became a wholly owned subsidiary of The Doctors Co., a large national insurer of physician and surgeon medical liability.

In July, APCapital entered into a merger agreement with The Doctors Co. that called for APCapital shareholders to receive $41.50 in cash, without interest, for each share of APCapital common stock held. The transaction was approved by APCapital’s shareholders on Oct. 20, 2010.

The total transaction is valued at approximately $386 million.

APCapital’s common stock ceased to trade on the Nasdaq Stock Market at the close of business on Oct. 22, 2010.

Western National, Umialik Insurance

Western National Insurance Group of Edina, Minn., signed a definitive agreement for the purchase of 100 percent of the stock of Anchorage, Alaska-based Umialik Insurance Co. from UkpeaÄ¡vik Iñupiat Corp. The purchase is subject to the completion of due diligence, approval by Western National Mutual’s board of directors, and regulatory authorities. A final closing is expected before year-end.

Umialik Insurance will continue to operate locally in Alaska as a separate entity writing personal and commercial lines, under the ultimate management and control of Western National and with its full financial support.

Western National Insurance Group is a super-regional property/casualty insurance group that writes more than $240 million in direct premium in 10 states. The group consists of five active companies – Western National Mutual Insurance Co., Western National Assurance Co., Pioneer Specialty Insurance Co., Titan Property & Casualty Insurance Co., and Wisconsin American Mutual Insurance Co. – serving personal and commercial customers in the Midwest, Northwest and Southwest. All of the group’s products are sold exclusively through professional independent agents.

Umialik Insurance is a regional property/casualty insurance company that writes more than $30 million of commercial and personal lines in Alaska and Washington. The company also sells all of its products exclusively through professional independent agents.

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