Commerce Insurance Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Commerce Bancorp, Inc., has entered into an agreement to acquire BK International Insurance Brokers, Ltd., headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut.
The acquisition will complement Commerce Bank’s expansion into Connecticut, where it will open its first two stores in Norwalk and Fairfield in late July 2005. Commerce plans to open 25 stores in Fairfield County as part of its overall metro New York growth strategy. In all, the Commerce network includes 326 stores serving, metro Philadelphia, metro New York and metro Washington, D.C.
Established in 1987, BKIIB provides commercial insurance for accounts throughout the metro New York market as well as other areas of the United States. In addition, the firm has developed a special practice in meeting the diverse insurance needs of clients in the education field. BKIIB also offers employee benefits and provides high value personal lines insurance.
Along with serving domestic accounts, BKIIB has created an international network of insurance brokers that spans a number of countries including Italy, France, Spain, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
BKIIB’s Chairman and Chief Operating Officer David E. Kimball, Jr. and President and Chief Executive Officer John F. Betz will lead CIS’ growth in the metro New York market. Shelley M. Levine, Frank Lyon and Lee Pierce, the other members of BKIIB’s executive management team, will join them.
“The acquisition of BK International is the ideal way for Commerce Insurance to establish a significant presence in the metro New York market and continue to expand in conjunction with Commerce Bank’s overall growth strategy,” said CIS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer George E. Norcross. “We are very pleased that the highly skilled members of the BK International executive team are joining Commerce Insurance. Their multifaceted insurance experience and intense customer service focus definitely will be an ideal match with the Commerce business and service culture.”
With the addition of BKIIB, Commerce Insurance, headquartered in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, operates a network of 15 offices including five regional headquarters located in Cherry Hill, Toms River and Randolph, New Jersey; Wilmington, Delaware; and Greenwich, Connecticut.
With an annual premium volume of nearly $1 billion, CIS provides a range of commercial, employee benefit and personal insurance coverage to more than 130,000 clients in all 50 states. In recent years, CIS also has expanded its focus to include developing specialty insurance practices to serve clients whose needs extend beyond more traditional commercial insurance coverage, including in the fields of education, life science and biotechnology research, public entities, construction, professional liability, surety, and risk control services.
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