American Family Insurance to Acquire Homesite Group for $616M

September 6, 2013

Madison, Wis.-based American Family Insurance announced that it reached agreement to acquire direct homeowners insurer Homesite Group Inc. for an anticipated $616 million.

Homesite Group is a Boston-based direct writer of homeowners, renters and condominium insurance. The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of the year, pending regulatory approval.

American Family said the move would strengthen its position in the marketplace by complementing its strong exclusive agent network with direct channel options to serve a different customer segment.

American Family’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jack Salzwedel said agents will remain American Family’s primary distribution channel.

“This is about meeting customer preferences,” Salzwedel said. “At American Family, we already have exceptional agents for customers who value the expertise and close personal attention our agents provide. Our agents are American Family’s foundation, and they will continue to be.”

“Homesite allows us to serve a different segment of customers who want to use direct channels to handle their insurance needs. We want to provide options for all customer preferences,” Salzwedel said.

The purchase is the second time in less than a year that American Family has acquired a direct property/casualty insurance company. American Family purchased non-standard auto insurer Permanent General Companies at the end of 2012.

Homesite has been privately owned by multiple entities and individuals. Owners include Alleghany Corporation, Metalmark Capital through its management of the Morgan Stanley Capital Partners funds and The Plymouth Rock Company Inc.

Homesite is a direct-to-consumer homeowners, renters and condominium insurance, using the internet, call centers and technology-enabled platforms. Its sales primarily occur through alliances with insurers and other financial services companies. Homesite was founded in 1997 and offers products in 46 states and the District of Columbia. The company is the 24th largest homeowners insurer in the U.S., with 2012 written premium of $548 million.

Founded in 1927, mutual insurer American Family operates in 19 states, offering multiline insurance products and annuities through its 3,500 exclusive agents, with some sales through its internet and call centers. The company reported 2012 written premium in all property/casualty insurance lines of $5.6 billion. The company is the country’s 10th largest homeowners provider, with 2012 written premium of nearly $1.59 billion.

Dan Schultz, American Family president and chief operating officer, said the Homesite purchase gives American Family additional benefits by increasing and diversifying its share of the property insurance market.

Schultz said Homesite sells its products nearly nationally, compared to American Family’s 19 operating states, which includes strong penetration in the Midwest. He said the larger territory diversifies American Family’s catastrophe risk, an important element of preserving financial strength.

Schultz said the acquisition will have no immediate impact on operations or positions at American Family or Homesite. Fabian Fondriest will stay on as Homesite’s chief executive officer, as will other members of the company’s leadership team.

“Our plan is for Homesite to operate as a separate and distinct entity, including maintaining its current operations and business partner relationships,” Schultz said. “Long term, we’ll identify opportunities to learn and capitalize on each other’s strengths for the benefit of our customers.”

Source: American Family Insurance

Topics Mergers Agencies Homeowners

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