CANTON, Ohio (May 15, 2013)
Leading Pet Insurance Provider Hartville Group Announces Acquisition by Fairfax Financial
The Hartville Group, Inc., one of the oldest and largest pet insurance providers in the US, has announced that it has signed a merger agreement with Crum & Forster's United States Fire Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (TSX: FFH and FFH.U). The agreement is subject to customary conditions and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2013.
Headquartered in Canton, Ohio, Hartville provides pet insurance plans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia under several brand names, including Hartville Pet Insurance and the Petshealth Care Plan.
Hartville also is the only strategic partner for pet insurance with The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®). As part of this long-standing relationship, Hartville provides and administers plans under the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance name. The ASPCA Pet Health Insurance brand is one of the most popular pet insurance programs in the US.
Crum & Forster, through its Fairmont Specialty and United States Fire Insurance companies, has underwritten Hartville's pet insurance plans since October 2006. No changes in existing policyholders' coverage will occur due to the completion of the agreement, and plans will continue to be underwritten by the United States Fire Insurance Company.
"Hartville has worked very closely with Fairmont Specialty since 2006 to provide high-quality pet insurance coverage at a good value for consumers," said Hartville CEO Dennis Rushovich. "Our existing partnership will help make this ownership transition completely seamless for our customers. It also is important to us that we've found in Fairfax a partner who shares our values."
"We are very excited to have Hartville join the Fairfax group," said Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax. "This acquisition represents a new phase in our existing relationship with Hartville through Fairmont Specialty. As a result of the vertical integration created by this merger, Hartville's pet insurance programs will be uniquely positioned in the industry to generate sustainable growth."
Hartville's pet insurance plans offer affordable coverage options with proven value for customers. Dogs and cats throughout the US can be covered for accidents, illnesses, wellness care, hereditary and congenital conditions, alternative therapies and behavioral conditions.
Hartville's operations will remain in Canton, Ohio.
Stockholders of Hartville, representing more than 80% of the outstanding shares of common stock, have approved the agreement by written consent and, therefore, no further action or approval by our stockholders is required. Hartville will provide an information statement to all of its stockholders setting forth the detailed information on the merger agreement and notifying the stockholders of their dissenter's rights. Closing of the transaction is subject to various closing conditions contained in the agreement.
At closing, which is anticipated to be in the third quarter of 2013, Hartville stockholders of record on May 15 shall receive in the range of $2.35 to $2.40 for each of their shares upon presentation of their share certificates. Hartville's paying agent will forward transmittal correspondence to each stockholder shortly after closing.