Ohio-based property/casualty insurer Motorists Mutual Insurance Co. and West Virginia-based workers’ compensation insurer BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Co. Inc., have been granted regulatory approvals to affiliate through a joint venture.

This affiliation has created a new super regional carrier ranked in the top 20 mutual companies in the United States, and includes more than 1,600 employees, 10 offices writing in 29 states, premiums of nearly $1.2 billion, a surplus of nearly $1.55 billion and assets of $4.5 billion.

The proposed marriage was first announced in October. The companies have spent the last seven months working with regulators from West Virginia, Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to make the joint venture through affiliation a reality.

Since it is not a merger, policyholder approval was not necessary.

BrickStreet and Motorists said their joint venture using an affiliation agreement will allow them to partner together financially and operationally while maintaining their individual brands. As mutual companies, both will continue to be owned by their policyholders and remain headquartered in West Virginia and Ohio, respectively.

“The joint venture using the affiliation model works best because it allows BrickStreet to expand its product offerings and services, while ensuring its headquarters remain in Charleston. We chose this framework of an affiliation very intentionally. This structure protects the BrickStreet brand, allows us to stay domiciled in West Virginia, and provides us with the opportunity to grow our company,” said BrickStreet CEO Greg Burton at the time the plan was announced.

Burton and Motorists President and CEO David L. Kaufman and BrickStreet CEO Gregory A. Burton both expressed appreciation to the many regulatory agencies involved. “This is an integration of two great companies, from all of the associates to the executive management teams to the boards of directors, and we are looking forward to the future,” said Kaufman.

Burton said they envisioned the process taking approximately nine months and are pleased to finalize it in seven. “We appreciate the hard work our state regulators have completed to allow us to achieve our goal in a timely manner,” he said.

The companies will begin to market products under both the Motorists Insurance Group and BrickStreet brands. Co-branded products will first be available through select independent insurance agents in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Illinois later this year. Other operating states will be added over time.

“Motorists can expand our product offerings into new and existing states, and BrickStreet agents and policyholders will have access to other lines of commercial insurance outside of workers’ compensation,” Kaufman said. “In addition, our companies share the philosophy of always doing what is in the best interests of policyholders and independent agents, which helps make this joint venture between Motorists and BrickStreet a natural fit.”

The executive management team will be as follows: Greg Burton, executive chairman; Dave Kaufman, CEO; T.J. Obrokta (BrickStreet president) will be president; Charles Stapleton (currently Motorists chief operating officer) will be executive vice president and chief operating officer; Chris Howat (BrickStreet chief financial officer) will be executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer; and Susan Haack (Motorists treasurer and CFO), will be executive vice president and corporate secretary.

Each of the respective boards will have six BrickStreet representatives and six Motorists Mutual representatives, led by an executive committee of John Bishop (CEO, Motorists Group), Tom Flaherty (chairman, BrickStreet), Bob Smith (Motorists independent board member) and Marty Becker (BrickStreet board member and QBE chairman).

Motorists Mutual is an affiliate of Motorists Insurance Group. Motorists Insurance Group, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, consists of 11 property/casualty insurance, life insurance and insurance brokerage companies. The group markets insurance through more than 14,000 independent agents and producers in more than 2,000 agencies in 24 states across the Midwest, Northeast and South.

BrickStreet Insurance, a mutual company, began its historic role as West Virginia’s first private workers’ compensation carrier Jan. 1, 2006. Since then, BrickStreet has expanded operations into other states to become a regional carrier. Also, BrickStreet has three regional offices located in Charlotte, North Carolina, Naperville, Illinois, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, along with the headquarters located in Charleston, West Virginia.