CNA to Buy Lloyd's Hardy for $227 Million

NU Online News Service, March 22, 2:29 p.m. EST

CNA Financial Corp. says it has agreed to buy specialty insurer Hardy Underwriting Bermuda Ltd. for about $227 million.

The merger agreement, to be implemented under the Bermuda Companies Act, has been approved by the board of directors of both companies but is subject to regulatory approval and Hardy shareholders' approval.

“While Hardy’s recent results reflect the extraordinary level of natural catastrophe losses across the global insurance industry, the Hardy franchise is built on a strong foundation and has a bright future,” says Thomas F. Motamed, chairman and chief executive of CNA, in a statement.

Hardy posted a net loss of $66.6 million before taxes in 2011, and a combined ratio of 121 as major catastrophe events accounted for 38 points. Hardy posted $105 million in catastrophe losses and an underwriting loss of $62.45 million.

After assessing losses from flooding in Thailand, the company in December announced an internal strategic review, with the purpose of finding an owner or partner.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter, at which time Hardy shareholders are scheduled to receive about $4.44 for each common share. 

Hardy’s CEO, Barbara Merry, and Patrick Gage, director of underwriting, will continue to lead Hardy.

Hardy underwrites marine and aviation, property and specialty business, and has a property reinsurance account in the Lloyd’s market.

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