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QBE to Acquire Optima Insurance Group in Puerto Rico

Posted on 22 Dec 2011

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QBE Insurance Group today announced it has agreed to acquire Optima Insurance Group, a leading underwriting group in Puerto Rico that posted an estimated $100 million in gross written premium in 2011.

The transaction includes Colonial Insurance Agency, one of the leading managing general agents in the marketplace; Optima Insurance Company, a premier property and casualty insurer, and New Century Financial Corp., which provides premium financing for Optima and Colonial clients. Completion of this transaction is expected in March 2012 and is subject to regulatory approval by the Insurance Commissioner of Puerto Rico.

QBE Latin America Chief Executive Officer Jose Sojo said the acquisition supports QBE's commitment to growing the business through product and geographical diversification and new distribution channels. It also strengthens its position as a leading insurer in the region.

Optima Insurance Group focuses on small and mid-size selected property and casualty commercial risks and personal lines. Insurance is distributed through a wide network of independent brokers and agents, along with diverse agreements with local financial entities.

Sojo said this acquisition will complement QBE's business in the region. "Optima's team has a deep knowledge of their business and of the Puerto Rico insurance market. With this acquisition, we reinforce our strategy to keep growing in Latin America through acquisition of companies that produce solid underwriting profits."

Antonio Ortiz, Optima Insurance Group CEO and founder, said, "a shareholder like QBE will provide Optima with access to exceptional financial strength, better products and enhanced reinsurance capacity, which we will leverage to provide a superior offering to our customers, producers and employees." Ortiz will retain his CEO position as QBE's top executive in Puerto Rico.

QBE Insurance Group Limited is one of the top 20 insurers and reinsurers worldwide. Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, QBE operates out of 52 countries around the globe, with a presence in every key insurance market.