||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (April 2011)|
|Traded as||NYSE: AIZ
S&P 500 Component
|Headquarters||One Chase Manhattan Plaza
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Products||collateral protection insurance|
|Revenue||US$ 8.3 billion (FY 2011)|
|Net income||US$ 545.8 million (FY 2011)|
|Total assets||US$28.9B (FY 2012)|
|Total equity||US$5.2B (FY 2012)|
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 including the controversial force-placed insurance product. 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.
Headquartered in New York City, Assurant is 310 on the Fortune 500 list of the largest publicly traded companies in the United States. It also is included in the Ward’s 50, which recognizes the top property-casualty insurance companies domiciled in the United States.
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. 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). 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. AMEV Holdings, Inc. was rebranded Fortis, Inc. in 1991. The business was subsequently renamed as Assurant and spun off from the parent company. 
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.
- 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.
- 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.
Products and Services
In March 2010, Assurant Solutions and IBM unveiled a Real-Time Analytics Matching Platform (RAMP) to improve call center performance.   RAMP is an application that works by analyzing historical data about the individual caller and the skill set of customer service representatives to optimize the routing of the call. As calls come in they are assigned to a customer service representative based on their expertise and past performance, improving customer response and retention rates.
In May 2012, Assurant launched solar project insurance for developers of mid-size (100 kW to 3 MW) solar projects.
Assurant in the community
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.
Health policy claim denials and cancellations
Assurant Health has been repeatedly found to cancel health policies for some customers that have serious medical conditions. Twelve states criticized the firm for denying claims, with some states levying fines against Assurant. Assurant admitted no wrongdoing, claiming the applicants failed to disclose previous medical conditions that would normally not have been insurable in the first place. 
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.
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".
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."
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.
In August 2012, Assurant was cited by the US for "unreasonable health premium increases." It was the only publicly traded health insurer cited by the US Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.
Force-Placed Insurance Controversy
Maintaining a property insurance policy is one of the most common conditions imposed upon anyone who borrows money to purchase a house. If a borrower allows such a policy to lapse, lenders will purchase force-placed insurance for the property owner (also called lender-placed insurance, or collateral protection insurance)  The use of force-placed insurance by lenders is an ongoing practice that, in the wake of the financial crisis, has become increasingly common, being cited by many experts as the cause of foreclosures themselves. The coverage prevents gaps in insurance, which is required by the terms of most mortgages. The financial industry justifies higher premium costs of force-placed insurance policies because of the heightened insurance risk of borrowers who aren’t paying for their own insurance. Opponents of the product, including whistleblower Brian Penny and Birny Birnbaum from the Center for Economic Justice, consistently provide statistics in opposition to these statements, citing kickback payouts and loss ratios that are much lower than the rest of the insurance industry.
Force-placed insurance policies recently fell under regulatory scrutiny when the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) launched an investigation into the lender-placed insurance industry that has so far led to settlements with QBE and Assurant  Although testimony in these hearings discussed "Reverse Competition" and kickbacks from Assurant to its banking clients, Assurant did not admit or deny wrongdoing and said it looks forward to its “next-generation lender-placed product.”  In response to the settlement, DFS Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky stated, "Prices should not be pushing up and up, pushing borrowers over the foreclosure cliff."
In January 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued new mortgage servicing rules that ensures borrowers are warned in advance of force-placed insurance's cost and prevent banks from force-placing policies on many escrowed loans. “All consumers will receive protections before a servicer may impose a charge for a force-placed insurance,” an agency spokeswoman wrote. In October 2012, Assurant and California agreed to a rate reduction for lender-placed insurance, with an average savings to policyholders of $577 annually.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the federal home loan banks, has looked into the relationships between force-placed insurers and their clients, determining the relationships to be fraudulent and banning any future servicer kickbacks. In addition, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation is looking into the practice 
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- Assurant Health description via Hoover's
- Assurant Solutions website
- Assurant Specialty Property description via BusinessWeek
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- Assurant in the Community webpage
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- 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
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