Trinity Universal Insurance Aims to Purchase National Merit Insurance Co.

Washington’s Office of the Insurance Commissioner announced that Trinity Universal Insurance Co. intends to purchase the National Merit Insurance Co. and hopes to complete the sale by the end of 2008. Before the sale can be completed, the Insurance Commissioner must approve it.

National Merit in Bellevue, Wash., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Direct Response Corp. of Meriden, Conn. Trinity Universal is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unitrin Inc., a publicly held company located in Chicago.

Before the sale can be completed, the Commissioner’s office will examine Trinity’s application detailing:

* Financial information for both companies.
* Who will operate the company at the highest levels.
* The business plan.
* Market competition impacts.

Evaluation criteria

Under state law, the commissioner must approve the deal unless:
* It would substantially lessen competition or create a monopoly.
* The buyer’s plans are unfair and unreasonable to the policyholders of the insurance company.
* The buyer isn’t competent, honest or financially sound enough to run an insurance company.
* It is in some other way “hazardous or prejudicial to the insurance-buying public.”

According to the Commissioner’s office, it received the application in late September, but requested additional information to deem the application complete. the DOI expects to receive additional information by the end of October. Once the application is complete,
a judge will schedule a public adjudicative hearing and decide whether to approve the sale.

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Source: OIC