Concord Outlook: Phenix Mutual to join with Ohio-based insurance group

Pending approval by state regulators and policyholders, Concord-based Phenix Mutual Fire Insurance Co. will soon become an affiliate of The Motorists Insurance Group of Columbus, Ohio – a move that the firms say will bring new insurance products to Phenix and may bring new jobs to the Concord area.

The 123-year-old Phenix is a property and casualty insurer that operates in New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and South Carolina. In 2008, the company posted $26.5 million in direct and assumed written premiums.

If the affiliation is approved, Phenix Mutual will pool its premium, losses and underwriting expenses with other companies in the group. The company’s offices will remain in Concord, along with all of its employees, and the Phenix Mutual brand will be strengthened and remain intact, said Rolf H. Gesen, president and chief executive of Phenix.

“I am pleased that the affiliation will allow Phenix Mutual to continue its commitment to the Concord community and to its longtime staff of employees,” Gesen said.

Gesen, saying he was “excited about this positive step in Phenix Mutual’s history,” added that the affiliation “will enable us to maintain a high level of service to policyholders and agents, offer our agency force new products and give the company access to financial and other critical resources through The Motorists Insurance Group.”

John J. Bishop, chairman, president and chief executive of The Motorists Insurance Group, called the affiliation of the two mutual insurance companies “an excellent fit for both Phenix Mutual and our group of companies” because “Phenix Mutual’s associates share our group’s values, management philosophy and believe strongly in the independent agency system.”

Bishop added that he expected “additional job growth opportunities for both organizations as Phenix Mutual expands its product offerings” because “prior experience has shown our affiliation model provides the resources that contribute to new employment opportunities.”

Bishop added that the affiliation benefits his firm, which will be able to enter new markets, offering “significant future growth opportunities” for The Motorists.

The Motorists have undertaken similar affiliations in recent years, said Bishop. They create “a greater spread of risk and should afford a winning business opportunity that will benefit policyholders, agents and associates of both organizations,” he said.