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Liberty Mutual to Sell to Mid-Sized Businesses through Independent Agents Only, Retires Wasau Brand

Posted on 22 Jan 2009

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Liberty Mutual Group today announced that it has discontinued direct distribution to mid-sized businesses and, that going forward it will distribute its commercial property and casualty insurance products in the middle market exclusively through agents and brokers. The Company also announced the retirement of the Wausau brand and the creation of a new commercial business unit, Liberty Mutual Middle Market. The new unit brings together the strengths of Liberty Mutual and Wausau Insurance Companies to better serve the property and casualty insurance and risk management needs of middle market businesses and their representatives. 
To ensure a smooth transition for its customers, Liberty Mutual has entered into definitive agreements to sell the policy renewal rights of its middle market operations to three firms: Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Hub International (Hub) and USI Holdings Corporation (USI). Each of the firms has extended offers of employment to many of the Liberty Mutual Group sales and service professionals supporting the transferred policies. The transactions are expected to close on or around March 1, 2009.  
“Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to being a leader in commercial insurance,” said Edmund F. Kelly, Liberty Mutual Group chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The agreements with Gallagher, Hub and USI speak to the quality of our business and desire to form strong, mutually beneficial relationships with agents and brokers who have earned outstanding reputations among middle market buyers.” 
J. Paul Condrin, Liberty Mutual’s president of Commercial Markets, added, “For years, agents and brokers have sought to place their middle market clients with Liberty Mutual but couldn’t access us because we distributed directly to that segment of the market. Now they can. And we are giving middle market businesses what they want, the opportunity to have Liberty Mutual as their carrier, and still work with their trusted advisor - their agent or broker.” 
Mark A. Butler has been appointed chief operating officer of the new Liberty Mutual Middle Market business unit. Mr. Butler was previously executive vice president and general manager of field operations for Liberty Mutual’s National Market commercial insurance operations. 
Liberty Mutual Middle Market is working to expand its network of appointed agents and brokers. Liberty Mutual already writes large national account business through brokers and small commercial business through independent agents. In fact, most of the Company’s commercial insurance is distributed through third parties. 
Wausau Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Mutual since 1999, has written middle market business through appointed agents and brokers. “So while the Wausau brand will be retired, the Wausau agents, brokers and policyholders are vital to our future success,” added Mr. Condrin. “We value those partnerships and will focus on deepening and enhancing them via quality service, proactive communication, and a commitment to delivering superior outcomes.”