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Consolidation Among Insurance Firms

Buffett-backed Columbia Insurance Co. is just one of several buyers in a consolidating insurance industry

The insurance industry has been experiencing a flurry of deals lately, including several overseas acquisitions and cross-border deals.

There were an abundance of insurance deals in June. For example, Columbia Insurance Co., which is owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A) said it will pay Hartford $285 million for Hartford Life International Ltd., a variable annuity business.

Travelers Companies Inc. (NYSE: TRV) announced it is purchasing the Dominion of Canada General Insurance Co. for about $1.1 billion to expand its business across Canada.

Also in June, Scor Global Life American Holding Inc. agreed to buy Generali U.S. Holdings Inc., the holding company of Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A.'s U.S. life reinsurance operations, for about $750 million. Tower Group International, in June, agreed to buy American Safety Reinsurance Ltd. for $59 million.

Insurance company Marsh announced in June that it will pick up Franco & Acra Tecniseguros, an insurer in San Domingo, Dominican Republic. That deal was announced just weeks after Marsh said it would acquire Rehder y Asociados Group, an insurance broker headquartered in Lima, Peru.

In May, American International Group Inc. (NSYE: AIG) invested $500 million and entered into a joint venture with People's Insurance Co. Group of China and PICC Life Insurance Co. Ltd. to form an insurance agency in China.

Two serial acquirers, Digital Insurance and Confie Seguros, have continued picking up domestic insurance businesses, expanding their services in the U.S. In May, Digital Insurance grabbed Fallick Insurance Services, an insurance company headquartered in Mountain View, Calif.

Also in May, Confie Seguros picked up Texas State Low Cost Insurance Agency of Austin and Capital Insurance Agency. The company followed up in July by purchasing CW Baker Insurance Agency and Lewiston Insurance Agency.


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