PEOPLE

With Christmas in the air, insure.com calculates Santa’s potential annual earnings and finds that for the fifth year in a row, the beloved essential worker earns a well-deserved raise. Research shows Santa could earn more than $157,000 this year, running one of the world’s largest toy shops. Using salary information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to estimate Santa’s earning power, analysts factor in the number of hours per day he likely spends on various tasks, such as running the workshop, reading letters, checking his list (twice) and caring for reindeer. Santa’s work to make spirits bright is tougher this holiday season, as COVID-19 challenges the world in ways most have never imagined. “Santa is likely hearing lots of wishes, and we’re all in need of some Christmas magic,” says Penny Gusner, senior consumer analyst for Insure. “While the North Pole continues production in these trying times, it’s nice to see Father Christmas continues earning top dollar.” Insure.com is owned and operated by QuinStreet Inc., a provider of performance marketplace technologies and services to the financial services and home services industries. Insure is a member of QuinStreet’s research and publishing division.

Louisiana Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon has been elected secretary-treasurer of the Southeastern Zone of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Donelon is a past president of NAIC. The election of officers is held annually during the NAIC’s Fall Annual Meeting, and the officers will assume their duties on Jan. 1. The NAIC announced its 2021 officers Dec. 9. Alabama Commissioner of Insurance Jim A. Ridling chairs the Southeastern Zone, and Mississippi Commissioner Mike Chaney is the vice chair. Elected to lead NAIC in 2021 were President David Altmaier, Florida Insurance Commissioner; President-elect Dean L. Cameron, Idaho Insurance Director; Vice President Chlora Lindley-Myers, Missouri Insurance Director, and Secretary-Treasurer Andrew Mais, Connecticut Insurance Commissioner.

MERGERS/ACQUISITIONS

Texas-based TWFG Insurance announced Dec. 1 its acquisition of Penguin Insurance Services, founded in 2012 in Milpitas, California. With the acquisition, TWFG will welcome an additional 130 affiliated agencies and over $100 million in written insurance premiums. “The acquisition of Penguin helps us strengthen our position in California and aligns with our growth objectives to reach one billion in written premium,” said TWFG Insurance founder and owner Gordy Bunch. Penguin founders and owners Bo Peng and Amanda Nguyen are pleased that their legacy will continue with Bunch and TWFG. Founded in 2001, TWFG has 400 branches and more than 3,000 independent agents across the nation and has rapidly grown into the number one privately owned insurance agency in Texas and Louisiana for personal lines.

 Truist Insurance Holdings Inc., a subsidiary of Truist Financial Corp., said Dec. 7 it has acquired Wellington Risk Holdings Inc., adding over $100 million of combined annual revenue to its wholesale division. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Based in Fort Worth, Wellington is a managing general agent in admitted residential property markets, with a strong presence in its home state of Texas, Truist said in a statement. BB&T Insurance Holdings, a subsidiary of Truist Bank announced in June that it began doing business as Truist Insurance Holdings, headquartered at Truist Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Truist Insurance Holdings said it also expects to close a deal to buy Fidelis Group Holdings, in Covington, Louisiana, a provider of specialty insurance products for the marine and cargo industries, by year end. Wellington will retain its name and join forces with AmRisc, the Truist Insurance Holdings managing general agent that underwrites catastrophe and specialty insurance for commercial property. Other fourth-quarter acquisitions by Truist include W. Brown and Associates Property and Casualty, an Irvine, California, surplus lines broker and managing general agent; Specialty Risk Associates, a Shreveport, Louisiana, surplus lines broker and managing general agent, and Program Insurance Management of Sarasota Inc., a Sarasota, Florida, managing general underwriter with specialized programs for industrial chemical manufacturers and distributors.

LDI

The Louisiana Department of Insurance has issued its third hurricane-related data call this year and is now seeking information from property and casualty insurers in the state about the impact of Hurricane Zeta. The department said insurers must submit data separately for hurricanes Delta, Laura, and Zeta. Bulletin 2020-05 contains guidance on Zeta reporting requirements. All authorized property and casualty insurers, including insurers that write private and/or excess flood insurance coverage and surplus lines insurers, are required to respond. Only claims relating to Hurricane Zeta for Louisiana policies should be reported. The first report is due Jan. 8, 2021, for claims reported as of Dec. 31, 2020.

RATINGS

Demotech Inc. affirmed on Nov. 13 the Financial Stability Rating of A, Exceptional, of Southern Fidelity Insurance Company. This affirmation is based upon Hudson Structured Capital Management Ltd., doing its re/insurance business as HSCM Bermuda, taking ownership of Southern Fidelity Insurance Company and its affiliated entities. “Having reviewed and accepted Southern Fidelity’s vertical and horizontal catastrophe reinsurance program prior to the 2020-2021 storm season, Demotech knew that the company could survive even the unprecedented number of storms that struck its Louisiana portfolio in 2020. However, as the dollar amount of capital necessary to replenish surplus increased, we knew management would turn to knowledgeable professionals for funding,” said Joseph Petrelli, president, Demotech. In exchange for ownership, HSCM Bermuda has agreed to provide a capital injection and take an active role in maintaining and expanding SFIC’s footprint in the Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina homeowners’ insurance markets.

 

RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT

As part of its ongoing commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) progress, Liberty Mutual Insurance announced Dec. 10 that it has become a signatory of the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment. Liberty Mutual is the first U.S. property and casualty insurer to join the international network of institutional investors committed to including ESG factors in their investment decision making. As a PRI signatory, Liberty Mutual has committed to incorporate the PRI’s set of six investment principles that offer a menu of possible actions for incorporating ESG factors into investment practice.  The company ranks 77th on the Fortune 100 list of largest corporations in the U.S. based on 2019 revenue. As of Dec. 31, 2019, Liberty Mutual had $43.2 billion in annual consolidated revenue and employs over 45,000 people in 29 countries and economies around the world. Supported by the United Nations, the PRI works to understand the investment implications of environmental, social and governance factors and to support its international network of investor signatories in incorporating these factors into their investment and ownership decisions.

HURRICANES

 Hurricanes are keeping their staying power longer once they make landfall, spreading more inland destruction, a new study revealed in the journal Nature on Nov. 11. Warmer ocean waters from climate change are likely making hurricanes lose power more slowly after landfall, because they act as a reserve fuel tank for moisture, the study found. The study looked at 71 Atlantic hurricanes with landfalls since 1967 and found that in the 1960s, hurricanes declined two-thirds in wind strength within 17 hours of landfall. These days it generally takes 33 hours for storms to weaken that same degree. “This is a huge increase,” said the study’s author, Pinaki Chakraborty, a professor of fluid dynamics at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan. “There’s been a huge slowdown in the decay of hurricanes.” Hurricane Florence, which caused $24 billion in damage in 2018, took nearly 50 hours to decay by nearly two-thirds after making landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, Chakraborty said. Hurricane Hermine in 2016 took more than three days to lose that much power after hitting Florida’s Apalachee Bay.