ACE Group said it will keep most of the employees with Fireman’s Fund’s personal lines business once its $365 million acquisition of the division from Allianz goes through.
“We value Fireman’s Fund talent and culture,” Juan Andrade, an executive vice president and head of ACE Group’s personal lines and small business insurance, told Carrier Management via email. “In connection with the transaction, ACE intends to offer employment to the majority of Fireman’s Fund Personal Insurance employees.”
ACE Group disclosed on Dec. 18 that it was buying the Fireman’s Fund division from Allianz, a line that is particularly focused on high-net-worth business. If closing conditions and regulatory approval requirements can be met, the deal will close in the second quarter of 2015. ACE will gain renewal rights for new and existing business, reinsurance of all existing reserves, and access to a network of about 1,100 agents and brokers. Allianz, in turn, will focus on building its commercial P/C business in North America under the Allianz name, built, in part, from other Fireman’s Fund fragments.
“Fireman’s Fund is known for unparalleled service to its clients, and ACE is committed to the same high standards,” Andrade said. “We expect our combined teams will only improve and sharpen their focus on providing outstanding service to agents and brokers and their clients. Fireman’s Fund and ACE are both dedicated to strong agency partnerships.”
Andrade added the blending of ACE and Fireman’s Fund businesses in this regard is highly complementary.
“The Fireman’s Fund personal lines business is currently run from multiple locations across the country,” Andrade said. “Our complementary geographic presence, our service, underwriting and claims capabilities can be further enhanced through an expanded network of offices across the country.”
ACE expects that expanded selling and distribution network will lend itself toward major growth for high-net-worth personal lines underwriting, Andrade said, which is a strategic growth area for the company through its ACE Private Risk Services division.
“We estimate that the vast majority of high-net-worth individuals and families—perhaps more than 80 percent—have policies from standard market carriers, often sold by captive agents or direct writers. These individuals and families frequently overpay to be underinsured in such situations,” Andrade said. “The few companies that specialize in serving [high-net-worth] clients, as well as the independent agents and brokers that represent them, have a tremendous opportunity to tap this underserved market and achieve strong growth.
Andrade noted that the Fireman’s Fund personal lines business ranks third among insurers serving the U.S. high-net-worth consumer market. Its acquisition will help ACE “accelerate the growth trajectory of its business, which has tripled in size over the last 10 years.”
Aside from the Fireman’s Fund deal, ACE said it will pursue organic growth down the line. As well, it will also “consider potential strategic acquisitions that complement our business and can provide favorable returns for our shareholders,” Andrade said.
While ACE is getting a big chunk of Fireman’s Fund’s remaining business, it won’t be getting the name. The future of the Fireman’s Fund brand remains up to Allianz,” which retains the rights, Andrade said.