Jeremy Ford, chairman of the board at local auto insurer First Acceptance, let his wallet do some talking late last week, spending almost $480,000 to add more than 250,000 shares to his holdings. The move boosted his direct stake in the Green Hills-based company by 12 percent to 2.3 million shares. Through his family's ownership of several other entities, Ford also is deemed to be the beneficial owner of about half of First Acceptance. The thinly traded shares of the company (Ticker: FAC) are up more than 40 percent this year but are still down 40 percent since late 2008.
Drug marketer Cumberland Pharmaceuticals lost $832,000 in its third quarter, reversing a year-ago profit of $1.9 million. Revenues were $6.5 million versus $12.5 million but operating expenses fell just 16 percent to $8.0 million. Through the first nine months of this year, the West End-based company generated just $940,000 in cash flow from operations versus more than $45million in 2012.
Automotive insurer First Acceptance posted a third-quarter profit of $2.1 million. That down from $3.4 million a year earlier but that quarter included more than $3 million in investment gains. The Green Hills company saw its combined ratio — which measures premiums relative to losses and operating expenses — fall to 96.3 percent from 99.9 percent the year before. The company's number of policies in force has climbed almost 7 percent this year to more than 157,000.
Local auto insurer Direct is preparing to take a kiosk it's been testing in a handful of its local stores to the broader market. Direct executives are promising that consumers can get policy quotes in a minute and be insured in five. They plan to install the kiosks at area retailers such as supermarkets, gas stations and car dealers, among others.
“Our DOTS kiosks represent a monumental leap forward for Direct and the insurance industry, streamlining the path to insurance like no system before,” said Josh Jarrett, Vice President of Product Management at Direct. “We want to change the way our customers think of their insurance company, and by deploying our kiosks on a large-scale, delivering quality auto insurance in seconds, we aim to meet and exceed their expectations for a fast, simple, and, above all, convenient way to find and pay for insurance.”
As things stand, Wells Fargo will not show up in the 2014 proxy statement of Green Hills auto insurer First Acceptance. The banking giant this week filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission saying it now owns 4.9 percent of First Acceptance, down from 5.2 percent in the spring. Shares of First Acceptance (Ticker: FAC) are up more than 21 percent this year but down 50 percent since 2008.
Auto insurer Direct General has launched a new claims management software platform that will help it better work with customers frequenting its 500 stores across the Southeast. The Nashville-based company worked with Capgemini to install the software, which was developed by Guidewire out of California.
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