Lighthouse Property Insurance Corp. plans to acquire its sister carrier, Prepared Insurance Company (Prepared), from Prepared Holdings Group.
Lighthouse is a Louisiana-domiciled property and casualty insurance carrier authorized to write policies in Louisiana, Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina. Prepared is a Florida-domiciled property and casualty insurance carrier authorized to write in Florida and Louisiana. The acquisition and merger are subject to regulatory review and approval.
“In light of the current legal and regulatory challenges facing the Florida homeowners insurance market, we believe that our Prepared policyholders, my Prepared Holdings co-investors, and our insurance enterprise as a whole will be best served by the financial strength of a unified carrier,” said Patrick White, controlling shareholder in Lighthouse. White initially acquired a majority interest in Prepared in 2017 and serves as CEO of each carrier.
Under the plan of operations, Lighthouse will assume the Prepared portfolio and write directly in the state of Florida through Prepared Managers LLC, a licensed Florida managing general agent. Lighthouse will also assume all assets and liabilities of Prepared. The resultant carrier, including wholly owned subsidiary Lighthouse Excalibur Insurance Company (Lighthouse Excalibur), which Lighthouse acquired in May of 2019, will have a statutory surplus in excess of $45 million and will cover approximately 175,000 homes across the Southeast. Lighthouse Excalibur has $11.5 million of statutory surplus as of 2019 year- end. Gross written premium for the combined enterprise will be in excess of $275 million.
Lighthouse began writing homeowners policies in Louisiana in 2008. It has since expanded its geographic footprint, revenue and capital base over the past 12 years, increasing statutory surplus each year, the company said in a statement.
Prepared Insurance, based in Tampa, was licensed to write business in Florida in 2009 and offered homeowners insurance products including flood, condo, renters and dwelling fire policies. It had 32,018 policies in force and $63.5 million in total premium as of the third quarter 2019, according to market share data from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.
According to the company, current Prepared sales representatives will not change. Prepared agents who have questions regarding getting a contract with Lighthouse in the other states they service should reach out to their local sales representative for more information.
There will also not be any changes or adjustments to the current service and underwriting of Prepared policies. Additionally, Prepared’s claims process and contact information will remain the same.
Agents who are interested in becoming appointed with Prepared can visit the Become an Agent page on its website for more information.
Prepared was one of several insurers in 2017 that faced a ratings downgrade from Ohio-based ratings agency Demotech, which rates more than 40 Florida domestic insurers. Demotech affirmed its ‘A’ financial stability rating (FSR) after White acquired an 89% ownership stake in Prepared Holdings and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, including Prepared Insurance Co.
In February 2018, Prepared Insurance was one of 16 Florida insurers that Demotech initially held off affirming its ‘A’ FSR, saying at the time it was waiting to review year-end financial statements, revised business plans and operating agreements of those companies. Its rating was later affirmed by Demotech.
The Lighthouse acquisition of Prepared comes after Demotech warned again in January of this year that more than a dozen Florida insurers were facing ratings downgrades based upon its review and interpretation of year-end 2019 financial statements. Demotech President Joseph Petrelli said challenges in the Florida insurance market, including abuse of assignment of benefits agreements, and first party litigation have placed insurer ratings in jeopardy.
“The economics of the marketplace over the past several years have made it impossible for Demotech to sustain each of the Florida focused carriers that we review each quarter at a [FSR] of A, Exceptional,” Petrelli said in a letter to Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance President and CEO Barry Gilway that was obtained by Insurance Journal.
Petrelli said that after Demotech reviewed the third quarter 2019 financials of carriers, it requested year-end projections of operating results for nearly half of the 40-plus carriers it reviews and rates.
“Having provided these carriers with ample time to implement revised business models, secure capital infusions, implement rate revisions, re-underwrite established books of business and utilize other enterprise risk management activities, it is apparent that few have returned to profitability,” Petrelli wrote.
Petrelli told Insurance Journal that Demotech would not disclose the names of the insurers ahead of time. Earlier this month, Demotech said it expects “many” downgrades of Florida insurers in the coming weeks.
Since Demotech’s warning, HCI Group announced it was acquiring St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Anchor Property & Casualty Insurance Co. and Anchor Specialty Insurance was acquired by Weston Insurance of Coral Gables.
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