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White Mountains completes $2.6B sale of Sirius International Insurance


April 19, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter


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The US$2.6-billion sale of Sirius International Insurance Group Ltd., which has a Toronto office, is now complete, White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd. announced Monday.

Sirius International is now owned by Singapore-based CM International Holding Pte. Ltd., which is the investment arm of China Minsheng Investment Corp. Ltd. Sirius America’s offerings include p&c treaty reinsurance in Canada.

iStock_000073423037_MediumHamilton, Bermuda-based White Mountains originally announced July 27, 2015 it was selling Sirius.  In 2011, White Mountains completed the sale of Esurance Holdings Inc. to The Allstate Corp.

White Mountains currently owns OneBeacon Insurance Group Ltd., which writes mainly commercial lines in the United States.

Sirius Group had net written premiums, in 2015, of US$847.6 million, White Mountains stated in its annual report released in February. Of that, US$101.2 million was from Canada, the Caribbean, Bermuda and Latin America.

Sirius America is owned by Sirius International, which also sponsors Syndicate 1945 in the Lloyd’s market.

“Sirius is a high quality reinsurer with a strong franchise and a great track record,” stated Raymond Barrette, chairman and chief executive officer of White Mountains, in a release July 27. “The acquisition by CMI recognizes this value and opens doors for Sirius to new opportunities in Asia, especially China.”

The sale of Sirius was one of five transactions, announced in 2015, in which the value was in excess of US$2 billion, A.M. Best Company reported earlier. In its Best Special Report, a 2016 Review & Preview of U.S. P&C (released earlier), the Oldwick, N.J.-based ratings firm was counting mergers and acquisitions in which either the target or acquirer has U.S. operating p&c insurance subsidiaries.

wmThe sale of Sirius was the fifth-largest such deal, A.M. Best reported at the time.

The fourth-largest transaction in 2015 was the US$4.1-billion acquisition of Catlin Group Ltd. by XL Group PLC. Dublin, Ireland-based XL announced March 1, 2016 it is proposing to relocate its head office to Bermuda.

The third-largest transaction announced in 2015 was the US$6.9-billion acquisition by EXOR S.p.A. of PartnerRe Ltd., a Pembroke, Bermuda-based carrier that writes both reinsurance and commercial lines. Turin, Italy-based EXOR is owned by the Agnelli family. EXOR’s other holdings include significant minority stakes of Fiat-Chrysler Automobile and CNH Industrial N.V., which makes power trains and heavy equipment under the Case and New Holland brands.

EXOR has since closed the acquisition of PartnerRe, which has a Toronto branch office. EXOR also appointed its chairman and CEO, John Elkann, as chairman of the board of PartnerRe. Elkann also chairs Fiat-Chrysler’s board of directors. A merger – proposed in January, 2015, between PartnerRe Ltd. and Axis Capital Holdings Ltd. – did not take place after EXOR made successive proposals throughout the spring and summer of 2015. Initially PartnerRe’s board had recommended shareholders vote to merge with Axis and had they done so, it would have created a global top 5 reinsurer, Axis Capital said in early 2015.

siriusIn its 2016 Review & Preview of U.S. P&C, A.M. Best reported the second-largest transaction of 2015 was Tokio Marine Holdings Inc.’ acquisition of HCC Insurance Holdings Inc., the parent company of Houston Casualty Company. That deal was valued at US$7.5 billion.

The largest deal of 2015 – valued at US$28.3 billion – was the acquisition of The Chubb Corp. by ACE Ltd. That deal, announced July 1, 2015, was completed Jan. 14. Zurich-based ACE has changed its name to Chubb Ltd. and the combined firm is led by chairman and CEO Evan Greenberg, who held the same position at ACE prior to the acquisition. At the time ACE and Chubb announced the deal, the companies said that the Warren, N.J. head office of “legacy Chubb” would “house a substantial portion of the headquarters function” of the combined firm. ACE said at the time it would also “continue to maintain a significant presence in Philadelphia,” where ACE’s North American division headquarters was based.

Ranking below the Sirius sale, on A.M. Best’s list of transactions in 2015, was the acquisition by Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. of Brit PLC. That deal was valued at US$1.88 billion. Fairfax’s holdings include Toronto-based Northbridge Insurance and OdysseyRe of Stamford, Conn.