Applied Underwriters Closes on Acquisition of Centauri Insurance Companies

February 8, 2021

Applied Underwriters has completed its acquisition of Centauri Specialty Insurance Co. and Centauri National Insurance Co., based in Sarasota, Florida.

Florida, Louisiana and Texas regulators have approved the transaction. The deal took nine months to close. Terms were not disclosed.

The purchase of Centauri is the latest in a string of acquisitions completed by Applied Underwriters in the U.S., UK and EU.

The Centauri companies sell home and commercial property/casualty insurance through independent agents and brokers in 10 states: Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. They also offer private flood insurance in Florida, Hawaii and South Carolina.

Steve Menzies, chairman, Applied Underwriters, said his company plans to “grow Centauri and to enhance ROE [return in equity] through complementary acquisitions that scale operations efficiently and enhance exposure diversification.”

“We are delighted that more than nine months of diligent work by all involved has now resulted in bringing this transaction to fruition,” added Rick Espino, president and CEO of Centauri Insurance.

Applied Underwriters acquired Centauri Specialty Managers on March 31, 2020 from its primary shareholder AXA/XL, and third party administrator Siebels-Bruce. As part its purchase of CSM, Applied Underwriters also had an exclusive option to buy the Centauri holding company’s two insurance carriers Centauri Specialty Insurance Co. and Centauri National Insurance Co., a deal it has now completed.

Founder Menzies reacquired Applied Underwriters and its subsidiary North American Casualty Co. from Berkshire Hathaway in 2019. He was joined in the acquisition by the Quasha Group led by Quadrant Management.

That transaction upset California insurance officials who say they never gave their approval for the sale or for the move of the Applied subsidiary, California Insurance Co. (CIC), to New Mexico. Applied Underwriters is suing California regulators to halt their plan its says would force its workers’ compensation partner CIC to stop doing business in the state.

Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, Applied operates throughout the U.S., UK, and EU. It has been actively acquiring entities and launching new divisions since Menzies regained ownership.

Earlier this month Applied Underwriters announced it will acquire Concept Special Risks, a UK-based international managing general agent providing coverage for a nautical vessels and operators. In December, it formed Applied Financial Lines, a new European subsidiary operating from Paris and Cologne.

Last June, Applied announced it had acquired Blue Ridge Specialty Group of Greenfield, South Carolina, a managing general underwriter specializing in trucking -related risks. Last November, Menzies created Applied Specialty Underwriters to focus on select casualty excess and surplus risks across the country, with an initial focus on large construction in New York. He also launched Applied Financial Lines and Applied Fine Art and Collectibles in New York.

The Centauri deal was not without a bump. In May, Centauri Specialty Insurance Holdings (CSIH) and Centauri Specialty Managers (CSM) alleged in a lawsuit that Wellington Insurance of Texas breached non-solicitation provisions and a confidentiality agreement put in place after negotiations for the sale CMS were underway. In addition to $30 million in damages, the suit, filed in Sarasota County, Fla., seeks an injunction to stop Wellington from employing its former employees and from using Centauri’s confidential information and trade secrets.

Topics Mergers & Acquisitions Carriers Underwriting

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