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American Financial to Strengthen Specialty Casualty Business

Zacks Equity Research
American Financial's (AFG) acquisition of ABA Insurance Services will enhance the company's specialty property and casualty insurance capabilities.

American Financial Group, Inc. AFG has agreed to buy ABA Insurance Services Inc. (ABAIS) from American Bankers Mutual Insurance, Ltd. (ABMI) for $28 million in cash. The buyout will help fortify the company’s presence in the Specialty Casualty lines of business. The transaction, pending closing conditions, is expected to culminate in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Shaker Heights, OH-based ABAIS is a principal provider of directors and officers insurance and other complementary insurance solutions for banks, small businesses and nonprofit organizations. The company has been in operation for three decades.

The acquisition will thus help American Financial expand its specialty property and casualty insurance capabilities. The purchased company is estimated to add $50 million in net written premiums yearly to the acquirer’s benefit .

Management estimates specialty casualty group to generate net written premium growth of 6-10% in 2018, up from the earlier guided 3-7%. American Financial’s strategic endeavors should help it achieve its target.

Post acquisition, the acquired company will continue to operate under the ABAIS brand. With this buyout, the acquirer’s tally of specialty property and casualty business unit goes up to 34.

Strategic takeovers have helped the company grow its premiums. American Financial is actively involved in startups, small-to-medium sized acquisition and product launches. The company is also prudently investing in business it is aware of and accordingly, bought National Interstate in 2016. American Financial is a niche player in the P&C and annuity markets. The company has always eyed acquisitions to ramp up its inorganic growth profile. Strategic integrations also testify to the company’s judicious use of excess capital.

Insurers Following Suit

Chasing the inorganic growth route, revving up one’s operational profile seems a well-accepted policy adopted by insurers as acquisitions set a prominent trend in the insurance domain. Recently, Cincinnati Financial Corporation CINF announced to buy MSP Underwriting Limited in an all-cash transaction for £102 million. Brown & Brown, Inc.’s BRO subsidiary Brown & Brown of Kentucky, Inc. has acquired FNI Management Group to boost its service portfolio as well as consolidate the Midwest presence. Unum Group UNM has purchased Pramerica Zycie TUiR SA from a unit of Prudential Financial, Inc. to leverage its solid agents and brokers’ network for growing its financial protection offering.

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