XL Buys Stake in High-Net Worth Insurer PURE

By | November 20, 2015

XL Group Plc, the Dublin-based insurer run by Chief Executive Officer Mike McGavick, acquired a stake in Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange, which takes on risks for wealthy clients and received funding from KKR & Co. this year.

XL holds an interest of less than 10 percent, and Stone Point Capital retains a majority stake, PURE Chief Executive Officer Ross Buchmueller said Wednesday in an interview, without disclosing terms. Stone Point, the private-equity firm led by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executives Stephen Friedman and Charles Davis, was an investor during PURE’s first capital raise in 2006.

McGavick, who took over XL in 2008 to lead the insurer through the financial crisis, has expanded the company through acquisitions. XL purchased Catlin Group Ltd. this year for about $4 billion to boost commercial coverage. McGavick said in an interview that he made the PURE investment after being impressed by the firm’s growth.

“For something as special as this, we just want to go along for the ride.” McGavick said. “We just want to be the kind of support that really helps him do whatever he envisions will work great,” he said, speaking of Buchmueller.

“There are some areas we have products that might be helpful to the kind of clientele he’s getting together,” McGavick said Thursday. “But that’s all up to him.”

Buchmueller co-founded PURE after leaving American International Group Inc., where he was president of the private client group since it was founded in 1999. McGavick said he began speaking with Buchmueller about potential partnerships in 2014.

KKR invested in White Plains, New York-based PURE as the insurer recapitalized. The firm is seeking to make gains as competitors for high-net-worth clients consolidate. Evan Greenberg’s Ace Ltd. acquired a business from Allianz SE this year and agreed to buy Chubb Corp. for about $28 billion.

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