It turns out that The Hartford’s planned $2.1 acquisition of The Navigators Group is a great example of corporate patience. As The Hartford CEO Christopher Swift explains it, his company’s interest in the specialty insurer and reinsurer goes back about three years.
“We have been attracted to Navigators’ expertise and track record of underwriting profitability for quite some time,” Swift said during an Aug. 22 call with analysts held to discuss the companies’ M&A deal announced earlier that morning.
Swift explained that The Hartford’s management became familiar with Navigators CEO Stan Galanski three years ago and has stayed in informal contact since then. Even then, he noted, there was a lot to like.
“This has been and is an attractive underwriting property,” Swift said, adding that the company was impressed with Navigators’ underwriting and claims talent as well as its entrepreneurial approach toward opening up new markets around the world.
But only in April was there more formal outreach to see if the companies could make things official.
At that point, negotiations heated up.
“Over the last four or five months we figured out we could get something done, and here we are today,” Swift said during the call.
In buying Navigators, The Hartford will gain a significant international presence as well as a specialty market in the global marine, construction and energy industries, and U.S. excess casualty and surplus lines. These are generally new or expanded areas for the insurer, and that’s something Swift underscored in his remarks about the M&A agreement.
Swift added he sees “dramatic potential for growth in cross-selling for combined product offerings to our respective organizations.”
Swift said that the acquisition “brings together two like-minded organizations with compatible cultures focused on disciplined underwriting innovation and financial performance.”
As well, Swift expects the deal will “generate attractive financial returns in the double-digit range over time.”