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Weekly News Roundup, February 16

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In this week's news will talk about how Allstate takes big catastrophe hit, Cannabis industry gets first captive insurance program, and much more...

Cannabis industry gets first captive insurance program

Symphony Grow, part of Symphony Risk Solutions, has launched what is said to be the first-ever captive insurance program for cannabis businesses in the US.

Called “Symphony Grow Captive,” the new risk financing tool will provide large and sophisticated cannabis businesses benefits not previously offered to them. According to Symphony Grow, there has been a “historical reluctance” in this space among most admitted insurers.

“The combination of regulatory, data, legal, and reputational challenges have been the bane of the insurance sector’s attempts to secure coverage for the cannabis marketplace,” Symphony Grow president TJ Frost said in an emailed release.

“The challenges that these cannabis companies face are existential, and after 10 years of insuring them and facing challenges in obtaining adequate and affordable coverage, we have successfully addressed one of their greatest threats.”

Hilb Group continues acquisition spree

Virginia-based brokerage Hilb Group has expanded its operations in the Southeast by acquiring a worksite and voluntary benefits business located in Georgia.

The acquisition, which became effective on February 1, signifies the Hilb Group’s ongoing strategy to enhance its service offerings and geographical footprint within the region.

As a portfolio company of The Carlyle Group, the Hilb Group focuses on property, casualty, and employee benefits insurance brokerage services. To date, the Hilb Group has successfully integrated over 165 acquisitions, establishing a network of more than 125 offices across 29 states.

Last September, the group expanded in Illinois with its acquisition of a property and casualty business, bolstering its footprint in the Midwest region.

Burns & Wilcox expands in Boston

Wholesale insurance broker and underwriting manager Burns & Wilcox has opened a new office in Boston as part of its Northeast expansion.

Leading the branch is managing director Peter Kestenbaum, who brings nearly two decades of industry experience to Burns & Wilcox. Kestenbaum’s credentials include time spent as Northeast underwriting leader at Vault, as well as stints at Marsh, Lexington, and AIG.

“As a family-owned, operated, and truly independent company, Burns & Wilcox offers a unique environment in which I will play a role in scaling the business,” the key hire said in a release.

Progressive reveals latest financials

Progressive has reported its results for the month ended Jan. 31.

The insurance giant reported $5,495.7 million in net premiums written and $5,386 million in net premiums earned.

Progressive’s net income for the reporting period was $700.7 million, working out at $1.18 per share to common shareholders, according to a news release. Total pretax net realized gains on securities were $87.3 million.

Progressive’s combined ratio for the current year is 87.3, an improvement from the prior year’s 96.0.

Allstate takes big catastrophe hit

Allstate has published its estimates of catastrophe losses for January.

In a release, the insurance giant said: “The Allstate Corporation announced estimated catastrophe losses for the month of January of $276 million, or $218 million after tax.

“Estimated January catastrophe losses of $325 million were primarily driven by two events that comprised approximately 80% of the losses, partially offset by favorable reserve re-estimates for prior events.”

In the same announcement, Allstate reiterated its ongoing push for rate increases as part of the company’s insurance profit improvement plan.