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Markel Buys Essentia Insurance

Zacks Equity Research

Recently Markel Corportaion (MKL) completed the takeover of Essentia Insurance Company, a subsidiary of OneBeacon Insurance Group LLC (OB). The company had entered into the deal to acquire Essentia Insurance in October, 2012.

As previously announced, subsequent to the sale of Essentia Insurance to Markel, OneBeacon has ended its underwriting arrangement with Hagerty Insurance agency. The decision to end a five year old partnership with Hagerty came from the failure to reach any mutually acceptable terms to extend the contract. The divestiture will provide OneBeacon with a $23 million pretax gain ($15 million after tax) in the first quarter of 2013.

Subsequent to the deal, Essentia Insurance Company which underwrites insurance solely for Hagerty Insurance Agency and Hagerty Classic Marine Insurance Agency will continue to do so throughout the U.S. Hagerty, a privately owned family business is a much acclaimed classic vehicle insurance provider. It provides insurance for timeless quality vehicles worldwide like classic cars, vintage boats, motorcycles and related automotive collectibles.

Owing to the operations in the niche insurance markets by Hagerty and Markel, it is expected that the acquisition will bolster the growth prospect and help to bring about new plans for the clients of Hagerty. On the other hand the deal is expected to strengthen and diversify Markel’s present Specialty Insurance business by giving it the opportunity to cater to the biggest network of classic car owners. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 is currently pegged at $20.21, representing a year-over-year increase of nearly 25.83%.

Markel aims to accomplish a smooth transition and ensure consistency in offering existing customers and agents of Hagerty with the usual products, services and claim handling which they are familiar with. There will also be no change in the current association of Hagerty with its insurance agents.

Markel has undertaken several acquisitions throughout 2012. The latest on the list was the announcement to buy Alterra Capital Holdings Limited (ALTE) in December, 2012 for $3.13 billion. The deal is expected to entail Markel with 69% and Alterra with 31% of the merged entity. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2013.

Markel currently holds a Zacks #3 Rank, translating into short term Hold rating. OneBeacon holds a Zacks #5 Rank translating into a Strong Sell rating.

Read the Full Research Report on OB

Read the Full Research Report on MKL

Read the Full Research Report on ALTE

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