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Mercury General Corporation Message Board

  • gacpcu gacpcu Jan 13, 2000 10:24 PM Flag

    Superior Insurance


    NEW YORK, Jan. 11
    /PRNewswire/ --Standard & Poor's today withdrew its
    counterparty credit and financial strength ratings on IGF
    Insurance Co., Superior Insurance Companies (consisting of
    Superior American Insurance Co., Superior Guaranty
    Insurance Co., and Superior Insurance Co.), and Pafco
    General Insurance Co. at the request of management. All
    of the insurance companies are subsidiaries of
    Symons International Group, Inc.


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    • i agree, the results were just fine. can you
      believe the combined is still 93 something. pgr is over
      100 in the same period. why not tune into the
      conference call on monday to hear about the details. this is
      the first quarter in quite some time to come in at or
      above the analyst's expectations.


      The overall financial results were terrific,
      especially for this environment.

      I saw only one
      negative. Policies in force were down slightly in CA. They
      are having a tough time growing. I think Geico is
      upping the stakes for everyone. I'm looking forward to
      hearing any further information on how they can cope.
      There was also no mention of Florida and Texas. I'd
      like to see how expansion is going. All in all I'm

    • Yes. Both agents referred to in my prior message
      served primarily nonstandard market. One sold to PGR.
      Other is still independent.

      I recognize
      nonstandard and standard worlds are different. Nevertheless,
      I still think PGR and MCY are both very strong
      companies selling at attractive prices relative to future
      prospects. Adapting to current conditions may be painful and
      may take a few years, but these two companies are
      among the most competitive and best managed in the
      industry and should be around when the worm turns.

    • these boards other than some rather uncivil PGR
      employees...I guess a few comments really got their attention.
      maybe I shouldn't have made that joke about

      PGRs business is vulnerable at all times. Non-standard
      business is very unstable. The retentions ratios for MCY
      are in the mid 90's. The retention ratios for the
      average non-std company are in the 65-75% range. With
      this type of high turnover, companies don't even have
      to persuade an agent to do a book roll... they just
      get them to start doing business and the volume
      quickly changes hands.

      Convincing an agent to do a
      book roll is quite hard as agents don't ever want to
      give up a market. Even if they hate that market, a
      company contract has value. If you roll a book out of a
      company they will normally cancel your

      MCY's across the board approach to business is not
      something they have just recently decided to do.
      Consistency is of the ultimate importance to

      Agents in New York will appreciate their tiered product
      and the easy transfer from non-std to std.

      Two days ago I faxed a letter to them about possible
      representation should they come into our state... The VP of
      marketing called today. Even though they aren't in our
      state he was extremely pleasant, informative and
      helpful. Very impressive... most companies would push such
      a letter down a lengthy chain of command.

    • did your friend who sold his agency do mostly non-standard business? i agree that pgr was tops in that business but the point of the poster is that in the standard world things are different.

    • Forgot who I was!

    • The 15% discount makes selling the entire package
      (auto, home, umbrella) a much easier proposition. MCY's
      competitor's are looking at this strategy as well. 21st
      Century (the old 20th Century) is back into homeowners
      even though it nearly put them out of business
      following the '94 quake (stupid management who
      underestimated their quake exposure by only $1 billion). Most of
      the agency companies are starting to offer account
      credits as well but most of them don't have the auto base
      that MCY does.

      Haven't seen any firming in
      auto yet. Comp definitely, property a little, casualty
      is still soft.

      MCY competition is 21st
      Century, AAA, Safeco, Hartford in preferred. Non-standard
      is beginning to look so much like preferred it's
      hard to tell. By the way, I agree with other comments
      on this board that almost every agent hates
      Progressive and would love to scuttle their boat given the
      chance. Or should I say "spill their bong water"?

    • I read the PGR posts same as you. However, I'm
      less certain that they represent avg agents' views or
      that it matters. Also not convinced (yet) that MCY's
      future is so much brighter than PGR's. Reasons:
      During past few years, I had in-depth and very candid
      discussions with large personal lines agents in NY and FLA
      who had extensive knowledge of PGR. Both felt that
      PGR had exceptional product and performed incredibly
      well for the customer. One (who eventually sold his
      business to PGR) complained that PGR had enough info about
      his customers to solicit their business directly (and
      was convinced that that was PGR's long term goal) but
      he still did huge business with PGR and felt their
      product was first rate. The other, in response to
      nonleading question about which insurer was best and which
      was worst in his markets, answered unequivocally that
      PGR was the best and that he did a lot of business
      with them. Interestingly, he felt GEICO was worst --
      service way below what ads promised, bad at processing
      claims. Both of these agents were smart, aggressive and
      very attuned to what was going on in their
      2. Despite PGR's current problems (and the negative
      posts), my sense is they have extremely strong people
      working there (including pot head at the top) and are
      resilient enough to respond to current challenges.
      of this is to say that MCY doesn't also hae a great
      future. But I would not count PGR out.
      Disclosure: I
      have recently purchased all of the above (MCY, PGR and
      BRKA, Geico's parent), each of which I expect will
      double over next 3-5 yrs.

    • i was just reading the pgr message board and saw
      some excellent comments from a fella named insguythen.
      i think those comments could reassure you with
      respect to your first question. after reading those
      comments mcy may very well be in a unique position to
      virtually grab whole blocks of pgr's business. the way i
      see it is a) the agents hate pgr, pgr has treated
      them horribly for years and now actually competes
      against them. b) mcy has a long history of dealing fairly
      and honestly with their agents and consider the
      agents integral to their success rather than just
      another cost. c)if the agency business is on a slow
      decline, (which i am not sure it is from reading
      insguythen's comments), then mcy can use their reputation to
      simply grab much larger pieces of a slowly declining
      pie. i think i may actually have a few shares of pgr
      left somewhere and will probably sell them in the near
      future after reading those posts.

    • Appreciate your view from the trenches...give
      us more from time to time. Pilgrim

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