Michigan House Panel Advances Bill on Fremont Insurance Takeover

Michigan lawmakers are wading into a fight over control of a west Michigan insurance company.

The House Insurance Committee has approved legislation that would make it tougher for Biglari Holdings Inc. to take over Fremont Michigan InsuraCorp. as it attempted to do last December. The bill would require that a perceived hostile takeover of a small insurer be approved by two-thirds of the shareholders of the targeted company rather than a simple majority.

The bill advances to the House floor. A version of the legislation has passed the Senate.

Lawmakers worry that Biglari, formerly Steak n Shake Co., would dismantle Fremont or move its 75 employees out-of-state.

Biglari says it doesn’t intend to break up or move Fremont. The company says the legislation dilutes shareholder rights.

The insurance company legislation is Senate Bill 1174.