White Mountains unit buys gig worker insurance firm

$140 million deal latest in a specialty firm buying spree
Geof Mckernan

Geof McKernan, CEO of White Mountains Insurance Group subsidiary NSM.

White Mountains Insurance Group will soon begin insuring people working in the gig economy after its latest acquisition in a specialty insurance buying spree.

The Hanover-based insurance conglomerate’s subsidiary NSM Insurance Group LLC – located near Philadelphia – announced Monday that on March 20 it acquired Kingsbridge Group Limited for roughly $140 million.

Among other things, Kingsbridge, based in the United Kingdom, insures the UK’s growing “contingent workforce” – contractors, freelancers and gig workers. It also insures utilities, the recruitment industry and utilities, among other industries. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter.

The acquisition “fits nicely into NSM’s portfolio of niche focused insurance business,” said Geoff McKernan, CEO of NSM.

White Mountain, run out of Hanover, though officially headquartered in Bermuda for tax reasons, acquired 96% ownership interest in NSM for $276 million in May 2018. The specialty insurance firm has completed over 20 acquisitions since its founding in 1990, including three since White Mountain took it over.

In May 2018, NSM acquired KBK Insurance Group, which focuses on towing and other transportation insurance. Just short of a year later, in April 2019, it acquired Embrace Pet Insurance, which specializes in cats and dogs, and at the end of June 2019 it acquired American International Group’s antique car insurance line for $83 million. Altogether, NSM now accounts for $825 million of White Mountains’ total assets which are just short of $4 billion, according to White Mountain’s annual financial statement filed on March 2.

Because of such acquisitions, White Mountains reported $893 million in revenues in 2019, compared to $369 million in 2018, with a comprehensive net income of $413 million ($130.27 per share) compared to a net loss of $146 million the previous year. White Mountains’ shares closed at $706.88 per share Monday, nearly $2 more than when it opened.

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