The Hanover Forms Agreement With OneBeacon, Expands in West

December 4, 2009

Worcester, Mass.-based The Hanover Insurance Group Inc. announced that it has entered into a renewal rights agreement with OneBeacon Insurance Group as part of its goal to strengthen its competitive position and expand in western states.

Through the agreement, The Hanover expects to acquire access to as much as $400 million in OneBeacon small and middle market commercial business at renewal, including industry programs and middle market niches. At the same time, the transaction will expand The Hanover’s segment, niche and industry program business, adding nearly 20 established programs to its portfolio. The agreement is effective for renewals beginning Jan. 1, 2010.

Frederick H. Eppinger, CEO of The Hanover Insurance Group, said through the agreement, the company would acquire additional scale in its core commercial lines, along with distinctive product and service capabilities. “The additional scale will enable us to leverage the investments we make in people, products and services across a larger premium base,” he said. “Consequently, our agent partners will be able to address more of their customer needs and to capitalize on additional growth opportunities.”

In small commercial, the company plans to roll out product enhancements across more than a dozen programs, including apartments, contractors, manufacturers, restaurants, retail, human services, technology and others.

In the middle market, the company will offer new coverages in several segments, including brewers, cultural institutions, food industries, media, printers, retail, and professional services. It also plans to make enhancements in several others, including real estate, wholesalers, metal workers and plastics.

The company also said the transaction will enable it to build its market presence and field capability, especially in its western expansion and other growth states.

In all, the company expects to form new partnerships with approximately 200 independent agents and to write additional business with another 300 independent agents who represent both companies in the small and middle markets. It also expects to hire approximately 100 OneBeacon employees, strengthening its field and field support teams, while ensuring a smooth conversion of the renewal business.

“We have been very thoughtful about where we will pursue new agency appointments and deeper partnerships, as well as where we will take advantage of opportunities to hire some very committed and talented people,” Eppinger said. “As always, we are committed to making appointments and hiring insurance professionals on a selective basis, in ways that make our company and our relationships with our agent partners even stronger.”

Expansion in Western States
Earlier this week, The Hanover announced that it has advanced its efforts to expand in the West. The company plans to begin writing business January 1 in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

The company is planning to appoint 200 agents in these states and developed a suite of middle market, niche and specialty products for the region.

The Hanover has opened offices in Denver and Sacramento and plans to open offices in Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle.

“Our launch into the West is part of a strategic and disciplined approach to growth, which is enabling us to capitalize on our strong momentum, the increasing interest in our products and services outside of our current footprint, and a number of emerging opportunities with some of the country’s best independent agents” Eppinger said. “We are very excited about the progress we have made in the West, and about the potential for this renewal rights arrangement to accelerate our growth plans there. There are tremendous synergies between our western expansion initiative and this renewal rights arrangement.”

Source: The Hanover

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