Assurant

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Assurant, Inc.
Type Public
Traded as NYSEAIZ
S&P 500 Component
Industry Insurance
Founded 1892
Headquarters One Chase Manhattan Plaza
New York City, New York
, U.S.
Key people

Robert B. Pollock (CEO)
Alan B. Colberg (President)

Elaine D. Rosen (Chairman)
Revenue US$ 8.3 billion (FY 2011)[1]
Net income US$ 545.8 million (FY 2011)[1]
Total assets IncreaseUS$27.1B (FY 2011)[1]
Total equity IncreaseUS$5.02B (FY 2011)[1]
Employees approximately 14,000 (2012)
Website assurant.com

Assurant, Inc. is a holding company with businesses that provide a diverse set of specialty, niche-market insurance products in the property, casualty, life and health insurance sectors. The company’s four operating segments are Assurant Employee Benefits, Assurant Health, Assurant Solutions and Assurant Specialty Property.

The company, formerly known as Fortis, Inc., was spun off from Dutch and Belgian financial-services company Fortis Insurance N.V. in 2004. The company’s initial public offering on Feb. 5, 2004 at $1.76 billion was the fourth largest that year. In connection with the public offering, the company changed its name to Assurant, Inc.[2][3]

Headquartered in New York City, Assurant is 285 on the Fortune 500 list of the largest publicly traded companies in the United States.[4] It also is included in the Ward’s 50, which recognizes the top property-casualty insurance companies domiciled in the United States.[5]

History[edit]

Assurant recently celebrated its 120th anniversary, tracing its roots back to founding of the La Crosse Mutual Aid Association, which was established to sell disability insurance in Wisconsin in the early 1890s. La Crosse Mutual Aid Association would later become the Time Insurance Company.[6] In 1978, N.V. AMEV of the Netherlands acquired the Time Insurance Company (now Assurant Health) via its U.S. holding company AMEV Holdings, Inc. During the next 12 years, AMEV Holdings, Inc. would expand through acquisition, buying American Security Insurance (credit-related insurance); United Family (funeral insurance); Western Insurance Company (mutual funds); and Superior Insurance (auto insurance).[7] In 1990, N.V. AMEV of the Netherlands acquired VSB Groep NV bank to become the Netherlands first financial conglomerate combining an insurer and a bank, creating Fortis.[8] AMEV Holdings, Inc. was rebranded Fortis, Inc. in 1991. The business was subsequently renamed as Assurant and spun off from the parent company. [9]

Operations[edit]

Assurant operates four main businesses:

  • Assurant Employee Benefits offers group dental, disability, term life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment and vision plans to companies with fewer than 500 employees. The company also offers voluntary (employee-paid) dental, disability and term life products.
  • Assurant Health provides individual, short-term health insurance and small employer group health insurance.[10]
  • Assurant Solutions develops, underwrites, and markets specialty insurance, extended service contracts and other risk management solutions in collaborative relationships with leading financial institutions, retailers, automobile dealers, utilities, funeral homes and other entities. Principal lines of business include debt protection administration, credit insurance, preneed life insurance, and warranties and extended service contracts on appliances, consumer electronics, automobiles, recreational vehicles and boats.[11]
  • Assurant Specialty Property develops, underwrite, market and administers specialty property and personal lines of insurance and also offers lender-placed hazard insurance and outsourcing services to mortgage companies, manufactured home builders and dealers, auto finance companies, property management companies, and managing general agents. In addition, the company also offers collateral protection programs for automobiles, manufactured housing insurance, residents insurance, homeowners, watercraft, motorcycle, motor home, federal flood, and farmowners.[12]

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Assurant in the community[edit]

Each of the Assurant businesses participate in local programs while regularly supporting nationally recognized charities such as United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Share Our Strength and the American Red Cross. The Assurant Foundation is a charitable trust started in 1982 to provide charitable grants to improve the quality of life in communities served.[13]

Health policy claim denials and cancellations[edit]

Assurant Health has been repeatedly found to cancel health policies for some customers that have serious medical conditions, and 12 states have criticized the firm for denying claims, with most of the states levying fines against Assurant.[14] [15][16] A number of individual cases have been reported.

In September 2009, the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s verdict and ordered Assurant Health (then known as "Fortis") to pay $10 million to policyholder Jerome Mitchell, who had contracted HIV subsequent to getting an insurance policy through Assurant Health. In court proceedings, it was revealed that the company's policy was to target every policyholder recently diagnosed with HIV for an automatic fraud investigation, as the company searched for any pretext to revoke ("rescind") their policy. As in Mitchell’s case, their insurance policies often were canceled on incorrect information, flimsy evidence, or for no reason at all.[17] In March 2010, the United States Supreme Court rejected Assurant Health’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling that awarded $10 million to a South Carolina customer whose policy was cancelled by the company when he tested positive for HIV.[18]

In February 2010, a Boulder, Colorado jury found that Assurant Health had breached its contract with Jennifer Latham, a 40-year-old mother of four who was severely injured in a hit-and-run accident, and awarded Latham $183,551 for medical bills and approximately 37.1 million dollars in punitive damages. This was described as "one of the largest bad-faith judgments in Colorado history".[19] Assurant disclosed in a conference call with investors on Feb.4, 2010 that the company would, “...pursue post-trial motions as well as an appeal.” Subsequently, during its second quarter 2010 conference call on July 29, 2010 the company indicated that, “The current quarter includes a $17.4 million after-tax benefit from the settlement of a previously disclosed Colorado lawsuit for less than the original judgment."

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "10-K - 2/23/2012". http://yahoo.brand.edgar-online.com. 
  2. ^ Dutch insurer Amev is buying VSB Groep NV bank
  3. ^ Assurant’s IPO Debut Leads Quintet
  4. ^ Fortune 500 list
  5. ^ Ward's 50 list
  6. ^ Usher, Ellis, Wisconsin: Its Story and Biography 1848-1913, Vol. 8, p. 2297
  7. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1990/11/28/business/business-people-new-top-posts-filled-by-amev-holdings.html Cuff, Daniel (November 28, 1990). “New Top Posts Filled By AMEV Holdings.” The New York Times.
  8. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1990-01-23/business/9001060788_1_netherlands-insurer-amev (January 23, 1990). “Dutch insurer Amev is buying VSB Groep NV bank for...” Chicago Tribune online
  9. ^ http://www.insuranceinsider.com/Fortis-to-spin-off-US-insurance-arm (September 1, 2003)“Fortis to spin-off US insurance arm.” The Insurance Insider.
  10. ^ Assurant Health description via Hoover's
  11. ^ Assurant Solutions website
  12. ^ Assurant Specialty Property description via BusinessWeek
  13. ^ Assurant in the Community webpage
  14. ^ http://google.com/search?q=cache:jRwHVdE_eLMJ:www.ct.gov/oha State of Connecticut Office of the Healthcare Advocate
  15. ^ http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/chi-tue-problem-insurance-0929sep29,0,1926150.column Chicago Tribune, After aneurysm, Assurant Health causes further headaches, 29 Sept 2009
  16. ^ http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2007/03/05/daily16.html?from_rss=1 Business Jrnl of Milwaukee, Oregon Regulators slap fine on Assurant Health, March 6, 2007
  17. ^ "Insurer target HIV patients to drop coverage". Reuters. March 17, 2010. 
  18. ^ Insurance News, Supreme Court Rejects Assurant’s Appeal, March 24, 2010, http://insurancenewsnet.com/article.aspx?id=174515
  19. ^ http://www.westword.com/content/printVersion/1400288

External links[edit]