With an intention to focus on commercial, reinsurance and life insurance business going forward, EMC Insurance Companies announced an agreement with Safeco Insurance related to its existing personal lines business on Monday.

EMC said the deal will provide EMC-licensed agents an opportunity to transition their EMC personal lines policies to Safeco, a Liberty Mutual Company, beginning in the first quarter of 2019.

Stating that the agreement follows from a strategic decision to dedicate time and resources to its commercial, reinsurance and life businesses across 43 states, Des Moines-based EMC said that this remaining business accounts for more than 90 percent of the company’s current premiums. The agreement with Safeco will allow EMC to provide a smooth transition for personal lines policyholders, and the independent agents in 23 states they currently utilize to sell and service personal lines policies, the company said in a media statement.

Bruce G. Kelley, President and CEO of EMC Insurance Companies, explained: “The personal lines marketplace is highly competitive and has evolved significantly since we first entered it back in the 1950s. This is a decision we made with careful, strategic consideration given our long history in the business.”

He continued: “We are focused on maximizing profit and growth potential and believe that can best be accomplished by further strengthening and expanding our commercial lines.”

EMC noted that Safeco has entered into this type of arrangement before. “The company has developed similar agreements with other insurers in the past few years given Safeco’s book transfer expertise and high levels of satisfaction for personal lines among independent agents,” EMC said, without specifically naming the other insurers involved in the transfers.

Past deals reported by Carrier Management include 2018 deals to take over personal lines business from MAPFRE, QBE North America and Donegal Mutual.

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