A specialty property-casualty insurer is moving its headquarters to Stamford from Rye Brook, N.Y., and adding 200 jobs in exchange for up to $11.5 million in state assistance, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Friday.
The Navigators Group, Inc. is taking part in Malloy’s Next Five program. The company will receive assistance for the $25 million move in return for adding 200 jobs in the state over the next five years, according to Malloy’s office.
“Today’s announcement is another indication that we are not taking the title of Insurance Capital of America lightly,” Malloy told media during the announcement at the former G. Fox & Co. building on Market Street in Hartford, which houses the state Insurance Department. “We are not resting on our laurels. We can’t afford to. We are taking proactive steps to ensure that we maintain our competitive edge.”
The insurer plans to make the move late this year to a location that has been chosen, but has not been announced publicly.
The state’s assistance includes a 10-year, forgivable loan of $8 million at no interest and as much as $3.5 million in a state grant. The financial assistance provided by Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development will help Navigators purchase equipment, upgrade a facility, train employees and offset relocation expenses, among other costs related to the move.
Navigators is an international specialty commercial property-casualty insurer with offices the United Kingdom and Europe. The company has insurance, underwriting and other operations at Lloyd’s of London. It began in 1974 as New York Marine Managers, a managing general agency for marine insurance, in New York City.
Last year, Navigators reported net income of $63.8 million on total revenue from gross written premiums of $1.29 billion. Gross premium revenue increased 16 percent last year over 2011, and net income last year was 2-1/2 times what it had been in 2011.
As a specialty insurer, as opposed to a standard-lines insurance, Navigators takes on more unusual or complicated risks that regular insurers tend to avoid. About one third of Navigators’ business is marine insurance, which includes cargo moving across the ocean, said Stanley A. Galanski, CEO of Navigators.
Growth for Navigators has come from energy production, such as off-shore oil rigs, as well as cargo business and a collection of “micro-niche” businesses, he said. For example, it’s difficult to insure a home builder in California because there’s a lot of litigation alleging construction defects, but Navigators has been insuring that type of work since 1995 and has expertise in it, Galanski said.
“We’re all about severity and complexity where the quality of the intellectual capital makes a difference,” Galanski said. “What’s driven our growth is having a lot more very seasoned hands in key markets, like in Atlanta and L.A. where we physically didn’t have a lot of people.”
The publicly-traded company had 14.3 million diluted shares outstanding as of Dec. 31. The company’s share price was up $1.16 to $58.16 at midday Friday.
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