Assurant

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Assurant, Inc.
Public
Traded as NYSEAIZ
S&P 500 Component
Industry Insurance
Founded 1892
Headquarters 28 Liberty St
New York City, New York
, U.S.
Key people
Alan B. Colberg (President and CEO)
Revenue IncreaseUS$ 10.38 billion (FY 2014)[1]
DecreaseUS$ 470.9 million (FY 2014)[1]
Total assets IncreaseUS$31.562 billion (FY 2014)[1]
Total equity IncreaseUS$4.778 billion (FY 2014)[1]
Number of employees
approximately 17,500 (2014)
Website assurant.com

Assurant, Inc. is a holding company with headquarters in New York City. Its businesses 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]

Assurant is 285 on the Fortune 500 list of the largest publicly traded companies in the United States.[4]

History[edit]

Assurant can trace its roots back to the 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.[5] 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, now Assurant Solutions); United Family (funeral insurance, now Assurant Solutions - Preneed Division); Western Insurance Company (mutual funds, now part of Assurant Employee Benefits); and Superior Insurance (auto insurance).[6] 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.[7] In 1991, AMEV acquired the group life, accident and health insurance of Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company (now part of Assurant Employee Benefits).[8] AMEV Holdings, Inc. was rebranded Fortis, Inc. in 1991. Superior Insurance was sold in 1996.[9] Fortis acquired John Alden in 1998 and American Bankers Insurance in 1999.[10][11]


Fortis' American business was subsequently renamed as Assurant and spun off from the parent company. [12]

Corporate Governance[edit]

Alan B. Colberg is the Chief Executive Officer and President of Assurant, Inc. [13]

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.[14]
  • Assurant Solutions develops, underwrites, and markets specialty insurance, extended service contracts and other risk management solutions in collaborative relationships with 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.[15]
  • Assurant Specialty Property develops, underwrites, markets 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.[16]

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.[17] [18][19] A number of individual cases have been reported.

In September 2009, the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s verdict and ordered the firm (then known as "Fortis") to pay $10 million to a policyholder, who had contracted HIV subsequent to getting an insurance policy. 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 that case, their insurance policies often were canceled on incorrect information, flimsy evidence, or for no reason at all.[20] In March 2010, the United States Supreme Court rejected the firm's appeal of a lower court’s ruling that awarded $10 million to another customer whose policy was cancelled by the company when he tested positive for HIV.[21]

In February 2010, a Boulder, Colorado jury found that Assurant Health had breached its contract with a woman who was severely injured in a hit-and-run accident, and awarded her $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".[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Assurant 2014 Annual Report & Form 10-K" (PDF). Assurant.com. Assurant, Inc. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Dutch insurer Amev is buying VSB Groep NV bank
  3. ^ Assurant’s IPO Debut Leads Quintet
  4. ^ Fortune 500 list
  5. ^ Usher, Ellis, Wisconsin: Its Story and Biography 1848-1913, Vol. 8, p. 2297
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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
  8. ^ ZONANA, VICTOR F. (1991-08-01). "Ailing Mutual Benefit Sells Off Units to AMEV". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  9. ^ FORTIS, INC. TO SELL U.S. AUTO INSURANCE AFFILIATE
  10. ^ "Fortis To Acquire John Alden". Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  11. ^ Fortis completes acquisition of American Bankers Insurance Group (ABI)
  12. ^ http://www.insuranceinsider.com/Fortis-to-spin-off-US-insurance-arm (September 1, 2003)“Fortis to spin-off US insurance arm.” The Insurance Insider.
  13. ^ "Board of Directors". http://www.assurant.com. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  14. ^ Assurant Health description via Hoover's
  15. ^ Assurant Solutions website
  16. ^ Assurant Specialty Property description via BusinessWeek
  17. ^ http://google.com/search?q=cache:jRwHVdE_eLMJ:www.ct.gov/oha State of Connecticut Office of the Healthcare Advocate
  18. ^ 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
  19. ^ 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
  20. ^ "Insurer target HIV patients to drop coverage". Reuters. March 17, 2010. 
  21. ^ Insurance News, Supreme Court Rejects Assurant’s Appeal, March 24, 2010, http://insurancenewsnet.com/article.aspx?id=174515
  22. ^ http://www.westword.com/content/printVersion/1400288

External links[edit]