Wholesale and specialty insurance distributor CRC Group has agreed a deal to buy Louisiana-based specialist marine MGU Continental Underwriters, The Insurer can reveal.

CRC Group and Continental Group

CRC Group confirmed the deal to this publication in a statement, as the Truist Insurance Holdings subsidiary closes in on what is understood to be its fifth acquisition of the year.

Continental Underwriters will sit as part of CRC Group’s programs division and is expected to continue operating under its existing brand, with CEO Elder Brown III staying on at the firm.

Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Continental Underwriters is a significant player in its segment of the market and provides primary marine, excess marine liabilities, ocean cargo and inland marine insurance.

The firm is headquartered in Covington, Louisiana and also has offices in New York, Texas, Illinois, Tennessee and Washington.

The transaction includes the acquisition of Fidelis Marine Underwriters and Fidelis Claims Services, units which provide underwriting, broker services, claims management and loss control assistance.

Continental Underwriters is understood to be on a strong growth trajectory, having added a number of offices in the last two years as well as recruiting staff in different cities as it expanded its footprint.

Commenting on the acquisition, CRC Group CEO Dave Obenauer said: “Over the last 50 years, Continental has built a successful track record of helping agents and insureds craft tailored marine, excess marine, inland marine and cargo coverages.

“Equally as important, the team has delivered outstanding underwriting results for their carrier partners.”

He added that the firm will expand CRC Group’s capabilities in these specialty insurance markets.

Brown said his firm’s prospective new owner represents a “great fit” for Continental Underwriters, because of CRC Group’s “commitment to delivering the best solutions to clients”.

“We are excited to continue growing and investing in our business, and we are confident this partnership with CRC Group will provide us with the tools to accomplish that on an even broader scale going forward,” he said in the statement. 

“We will continue to provide our clients with the same security, service and capabilities they have come to expect from our team.”

CRC build-out

Continental Underwriters is thought to be the fifth acquisition of the year for CRC Group, which has become more active in M&A in 2020 after the close of its banking parent’s merger with SunTrust to create Truist.

It has also added more than 100 producers this year as it has actively sought to build out its platform and capabilities.

Last month CRC Group acquired California-based surplus lines broker and MGA W Brown & Associates P&C as it continued the expansion of its binding platform.

Other publicly disclosed acquisitions in 2020 include the deal to buy MGA and surplus lines broker Specialty Risk Associates, which was announced in October.

CRC has nearly $10bn in annual written premium, 88 office locations and more than 800 brokers and underwriters.