MAPFRE Insurance, which last year decided to exit five states and focus on 11, is turning over its personal lines business in three of those five states to Safeco Insurance, a Liberty Mutual unit.
Safeco will underwrite MAPFRE’s personal lines policies in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. Through this agreement, which is effective March 1, MAPFRE will begin its withdrawal from these states as part of the company’s strategic plan, announced in December 2017, to focus on MAPFRE’s core states and lines of business.
The insurer has said it would sell its life business and conduct an orderly withdrawal from the personal lines markets in its underperforming states, including finding replacement carriers where viable. This appears to be the case in the three states where Safeco is stepping in.
This announcement still leaves the fate of MAPFRE’s business in two states uncertain: New York and New Jersey. The company is pursuing the sale of its New York subsidiary, MAPFRE Insurance Co. of New York, and in terms of its life business, it is trying to sell its Delaware-based subsidiary, MAPFRE Life Insurance Co.
“This transaction represents definitive progress on MAPFRE’s profitable growth strategy in the U.S., allowing us to focus operations on a reduced number of states,” said Alfredo Castelo, president and CEO of MAPFRE Insurance. “We are pleased to partner with Safeco to provide a seamless transition for our agents and customers.”
MAPFRE USA has identified 11 core states where it will continue to pursue a profitable growth strategy: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Ohio, California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. The insurer said it will also continue to operate in three additional states—Florida, Pennsylvania and Arizona—but said in these states it “must first reinforce the company’s underwriting and distribution foundation” before expanding its writings.
MAPFRE Insurance is part of the MAPFRE Group, a global insurer that is a leader in Spain and Latin America and one of the top 10 insurance companies in Europe in terms of premium volume. After MAPFRE SA posted a 32 percent drop in quarterly net profit in the fourth quarter of 2016, Antonio Huertas, chairman and CEO of MAPFRE Group, said he wanted to improve the insurer’s efficiency and profitability by exiting some businesses, increasing prices and raising provisions in units including its domestic Spanish market. The insurer had been hit by the fall in value of Brazilian real estate, and its large unit there posted a 47 percent decline in net profit in the three months through December from a year earlier.
Gary Fischer, senior vice president of Distribution Strategy and Operations Support at Safeco Insurance, said his company is committed to the success of independent agents. “This innovative approach to book transfer leverages our leading products and services to help grow their business while providing their customers with a great experience,” Fischer said.