Response Insurance Acquires National Merit Insurance from Unigard

September 16, 2003

Response Insurance Company, a direct-to-the-consumer auto insurer based in Meriden Conn., announced it has signed a stock purchase agreement to acquire National Merit Insurance Company from Unigard Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Winterthur Swiss Insurance Company.

“The purchase will provide Response with a highly attractive customer base in the strategic northwest region of the country,” said the bulletin. It also noted that Response remains committed to continued acquisitions as part of its business strategy and is currently “the most prolific acquirer in the direct auto insurance industry. In April, Response closed on the purchase of the Worldwide Insurance companies that doubled the size of the Company.”

President & CEO Mory Katz of Direct Response Corporation and Chairman of subsidiary Response Insurance Company, stated: “As with all of our prior acquisitions, National Merit strengthens our position in the market and enables us to continue our highly targeted growth strategy in key markets. National Merit has a strong name that represents quality to its customers. We share that commitment to excellence and look forward to serving them.”

National Merit is a direct-to-the-customer insurer licensed in the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Response said it had agreed to pay “for an amount equal to $3.5 million over the policyholders’ surplus at closing,” which “includes a personal auto book of business and a call center in Bellevue, WA.”

It noted that “upon completion of the sale and regulatory approval by the Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner, the Response Insurance Group will have more than 95,000 in-force policies in 45 states. Response’s policies in force in Washington State will be nearly 18,000 as a result of the acquisition.” The company now ranks as the U.S. 14th largest direct auto insurer and is among the 100 largest personal auto insurers.

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