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Market Moves


Gallagher & Co. acquires Elite Benefits

ITASCA, Ill.—Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. has acquired Elite Benefits Insurance Marketing Services Inc., a benefits consultant and brokerage, for an undisclosed sum.

Elite Benefits President John Young and his staff will continue operating in Irvine, Calif., under the direction of Norbert Chung, western regional executive vp of Gallagher Benefit Services Inc., Itasca, Ill.-based Gallagher said in a statement.

Brown & Brown adds Fla., La. Operations

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—Brown & Brown Inc. has acquired Tallahassee, Fla.-based Shapiro Insurance Inc. and three Lockport, La., operations--Marcello Agency Inc., American Insurance Service Inc. and Beyer-Beeson Insurance Agency Inc.

Jerry J. Marcello, president of the Louisiana commercial property/ casualty intermediaries in the energy and marine industries, and his staff will remain in Lockport as a Brown & Brown specialty division.

Daytona Beach, Fla.-based Brown & Brown said Shapiro President Howard Shapiro and his staff would merge into Brown & Brown's existing Tallahassee office. The Shapiro operations focus on employee benefits and administration, commercial lines and personal insurance.

The acquisitions had combined annual revenue of about $5 million.

QBE buys P/C insurer in Latin America expansion

NEW YORK—QBE the Americas agreed to buy specialized Mexico-based insurer Cumbre Seguros from private investors--a transaction that must receive Mexican regulatory approval and is expected to close during the second quarter, QBE said.

The New York arm of Sydney, Australia-based QBE Insurance Group Inc. said the purchase of Cumbre Seguros, a commercial property/casualty insurer in Mexico City, completes the fourth of its five Latin American goals--to open offices in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Chile.

Cumbre Seguros had 2006 gross premiums of about $58 million.

HRH acquires Atlanta risk consultant, investigator

ATLANTA—Hilb Rogal & Hobbs Co. based in Glen Allen, Va., has acquired "substantially all" of the assets of Investigative Solutions Inc., an Atlanta risk management consultant and investigative service provider, HRH said.

Former FBI agent and ISI President Harold Copus and his team will operate ISI in Atlanta as a branch of HRH Risk Mitigation Inc.

Martin L. Vaughan III, HRH chairman and chief executive officer, said an "increasing number of emerging risk issues" and "elevated" client demand prompted the purchase.

Mr. Copus said joining HRH would allow ISI to meet "increasingly sophisticated client demands."

ISI had about $1.5 million in annualized revenue in 2006, the companies said in a statement.

Chiltington sets up office in Mexico City

MEXICO CITY—Chiltington International Ltd. opened a Mexico City office Jan. 1, the London-based insurance and reinsurance consultant said. Oscar Botello Moreno is general manager of the office.

Aon restructures entertainment insurer

CHICAGO—Aon Corp. has put its Aon/Albert G. Ruben arm, which insures entertainment and leisure industry risks, under the direction of Aon's Entertainment Group.

George Walden is Ruben's new CEO. He succeeds Sam Cargill, now group chairman. Mr. Walden, now based in Los Angeles, spent three decades as president of Ruben's New York office.

Ruben President Peter Robey will continue his association with the previously independent Aon arm and will be based in London.

Aon said the changes will help it better serve "large conglomerates" that dominate today's entertainment and leisure industries.

AVRECO-The Park Group launches department

CHICAGO—Wholesaler AVRECO-The Park Group has set up a professional liability department and promoted Peter Upjohn to manager. Mr. Upjohn most recently was assistant vp in AVRECO-The Park Group's casualty department, a spokeswoman said.

Starr Foundation donates $10M to N.Y.'s Cooper Union

NEW YORK—The Starr Foundation, headed by C.V. Starr & Co. Chairman Maurice R. Greenberg, donated $10 million to support a $250 million capital campaign by The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Sciences and Art, reported Crain's New York Business, a sister publication of Business Insurance. The New York arts, engineering and science institution said the donation is the largest in its history. Technology innovation is "the key to American competitiveness in our rapidly changing global economy," Mr. Greenberg said.