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Hancock to Vend Part of Insurance Biz

Zacks Equity Research

Hancock Holding Company (HBHC) is set to divest part of its business within its subsidiary insurance agencies to AssuredPartners Inc. The lines of business to be vended include property and casualty (P&C) and group benefits services.

Nevertheless, the company’s life and title insurance lines of business do not form part of this divestiture. Moreover, as part of a referral program between Hancock and AssuredPartners, the former will continue to provide P&C and group benefits services to customers.

The deal is expected to close by April 4, 2014. Though AssuredPartners will gain full ownership by the slated date, Hancock will extend its support by providing transitional services for the next 120 days.

In its press release on Monday, Hancock further affirmed that the divestiture forms part of the company’s ongoing strategic review of its business lines. Further, while the divestiture will not result in expense reduction, it will help the company to focus on its core business and wealth management segments.

The lines of business that will be divested account for nearly half of Hancock’s insurance revenues. Overall, insurance commissions and fees increased merely 1% to $15.8 million in 2013 from the previous year. Therefore, the latest deal seems to be a strategic fit as it disposes a comparatively less profitable business of Hancock.

Currently, Hancock carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked southeast banks include Capital City Bank Group Inc. (CCBG), 1st United Bancorp, Inc. (FUBC) and Ameris Bancorp (ABCB). While Capital City Bank Group sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), the other two have a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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