United States authorities are conducting a review of China’s Fosun Group’s acquisition in November 2015 of Bermuda-based insurer Ironshore.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, regularly conducts company reviews after sale to a foreign investor, said Kevin H. Kelley, CEO of Ironshore, in a June 6 letter to employees.
“CFIUS evaluates national security issues in connection with foreign investments and acquisitions in the U.S.,” said Kelley.
Of particular interest to CFIUS is an Ironshore professional liability product designed for federal agency employees, which Ironshore sells via a subsidiary called Wright USA.
There is speculation that CFIUS is concerned about who has access to this list of federal employees, following the hack last year of employee records held at the Office of Personnel Management.
However, as the Wright business accounts for less than 0.5 percent of Ironshore’s total annual premium, sources indicate that Fosun would be willing to sell the subsidiary to alleviate any CFIUS concerns.
CFIUS has been known to review companies as diverse as hog farmers, light-bulb manufacturers and hotel groups. The usual process is to file for a CFIUS review before a foreign investor purchases a US company, especially if it is in an industry that presents obvious national security issues.
As a matter of law, Ironshore is not permitted to reveal details of its CFIUS review, but Kelley sent a letter to employees when news of the review leaked in a Chinese business publication.
In his letter to employees, Kelley explained that the process is a civil regulatory one which does not involve any allegations of wrongdoing. “Fosun and Ironshore voluntarily filed with CFIUS and have been cooperating fully…,” he said.
Kelley told Ironshore employees that the CFIUS process is “constructive.” “We welcome any initiative that increases public confidence and reassures regulators that Ironshore will continue to operate independently and strictly protect policyholder information.”
“We’re working toward a favorable outcome of the CFIUS review,” said a company source.