National General Holdings Corp. said that founder, chairman and CEO Michael Karfunkel – who previously launched AmTrust Financial Services with his brother – has passed away.

The New York-based specialty lines insurance holding company disclosed the news on April 27. Few other details were disclosed. Karfunkel has a successor, however – his son, company president Barry Karfunkel, whom the board has appointed as CEO.

National General, in its announcement of the elder Karfunkel’s death, said that it has confidence in Barry Karfunkel’s ability to work with senior managers and continue the company’s strategic plan. He’s “been part of the management team at National General since its founding” in 2009 and had worked with his father to develop the company’s “strategic vision,” the announcement noted.

Michael Karfunkel and his brother, AmTrust Director George Karfunkel, founded AmTrust in 1998. Michael Karfunkel remained as chairman, and his son-in-law Barry Zyskind was later appointed president and CEO, roles he still serves.

AmTrust issued a statement on April 27 noting that it “is deeply saddened” its founder chairman had died.

“Michael Karfunkel served as AmTrust’s chairman throughout AmTrust’s 16 year history, during which he provided invaluable advice and leadership that contributed significantly to the success of AmTrust,” the company statement said. “AmTrust will greatly miss [his] trusted counsel and vision.”

In recent months, National General has been pursuing expansion by way of acquisitions.

Among some of the more recent ones: In January, the company acquired Century-National Insurance Company in California and Standard Mutual Insurance Company in Illinois, both property/casualty underwriters who do business in multiple states. Century-National does business in Illinois, Nevada and Arizona as well as California, and Standard Mutual operates in Illinois and Indiana.

A year ago, National General closed its acquisition of New Jersey-based Assigned Risk Solutions Ltd. from Toronto-based Kingsway Financial Services. The firm was a managing general agency that services assigned risk auto, private passenger auto and commercial lines of business, and it is licensed in 222 states.

Sources: National General, AmTrust