Atlas General is conducting a sales process with expansive fee business consolidator Amynta among the parties understood to be interested in buying the MGA and program administrator platform, The Insurer can reveal.

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According to sources, San Diego, California-based Atlas General is being advised by Dowling Hales and went out to potential buyers around six weeks ago seeking indications of interest. The sources added that Stonybrook Capital has also been playing an advisory role in the process.

Other potential buyers linked to the process include US wholesaler Worldwide Facilities.

Sources suggested Amynta – the acquisitive former AmTrust fee business now majority owned by private equity firm Madison Dearborn – has shown strong interest in securing a deal for Atlas General, which is led by CEO Bill Trzos.

The link with Atlas General comes as Amynta has hired Dan Huckemeyer as senior vice president for workers’ compensation programs based in San Diego.

The executive was most recently director of programs at Marsh & McLennan Agency.

MGA and program administrator platforms had been the subject of heady valuations in the pre-Covid M&A market and are expected to continue to attract rich prices as deal activity has picked up in the last couple of months.

Current details of Atlas General’s financials are not known, but they have received some unwanted attention in the last year as a result of a legal dispute involving the firm, its CEO and investment firm 777 Partners.

As previously reported, litigation was brought by 777 and Sutton National Insurance against Atlas General and Trzos following the breakdown of a plan that could have led to the private equity firm acquiring a stake in the MGA at a valuation of $85mn.

777 claimed it had agreed the $85mn valuation with the defendants back in 2018. But it alleged that defendants made representations to the potential buyer that Atlas General’s board as well as minority shareholder Vanbridge and its principal VJ Dowling had knowledge of the proposed transaction and supported it.

At that stage, Atlas General’s largest investor was Trzos’s Cypress Point vehicle, while Vanbridge held roughly a 30 percent interest.

The litigation is ongoing.

Workers’ compensation specialist

Atlas General is seen as a workers’ compensation specialist and underwrites on behalf of a number of carrier partners, including fronting companies such as Accredited Surety and Casualty and James River’s Falls Lake Insurance platform.

Its four managed programs are with Accredited, Falls Lake, Service American and StarStone National.

Atlas General also has an SME commercial division that concentrates on property, casualty, package, inland marine, cargo, auto, excess and professional lines as a wholesale distributor as well as a program administrator.

The firm’s specialty property division writes and places difference-in-conditions cover including quake and incidental flood coverage for commercial risks including apartments, condos, shopping centres, retail/wholesale, office buildings, manufacturing and various industrial occupancies.

The business is produced via wholesale E&S brokers and written on a non-admitted basis, with a geographical focus in California and the Pacific Northwest, as well as other quake zones including around the New Madrid fault. Capacity comes from Lloyd’s and domestic carriers.

Atlas General also has a portfolio of specialty programs including cannabis, bus/limo, parcel delivery, equine and contractors written on behalf of its program carrier partners.

Expansive Amynta

A sale to Amynta would mark the latest acquisition by the fast-growing platform as it looks to diversify away from its core book of former AmTrust programs and other fee business.

AmTrust sold 51 percent of its fee business – which includes MGAs, warranty and specialty risk companies – to Madison Dearborn for $950mn in 2018, with the platform renamed Amynta.

Former Bank of America Merrill Lynch insurance deal advisor Rob Giammarco was brought in as chairman and CEO last year.

New York-based Amynta has been highly active since the spin-off and now has more than $3.5bn in managed premium and 2,000 associates across North America, Europe and Australia.

Atlas General declined to comment on this article, while Amynta, Worldwide Facilities, Dowling Hales and Stonybrook did not respond to a request for comment.