Auto insurer First Acceptance Corp. on Wednesday completed its acquisition of more than 80 stores marketing nonstandard policies in California from Nationwide Insurance. The Green Hills-based company (Ticker: FAC) paid $34.5 million in cash for the stores, $30 million of which came from an affiliate of its 53 percent shareholder, Gerald Ford, in the form of a loan. From the looks of the 10-year loan, Ford is a pretty good negotiator: First Acceptance is paying 8 percent interest.
First Acceptance is on a bit of a roll lately. Shares of the Green Hills-based auto insurer (Ticker: FAC) are up more than 30 percent since the end of March, and the company last month said it planned to buy more than 80 stores from Nationwide for more than $34 million. On Monday, the company said it has opened its fourth store in the Memphis area. The new location is the fifth since late last year.
Mobile device insurer Asurion plans to close a customer service call center in Great Falls, Montana, a move that puts about 350 jobs at risk. Officials at Nashville-based Asurion told the Great Falls Tribune they're making the move to create "operating and infrastructure efficiences" but will look to have some workers transition to working from home.
"We encourage all employees to keep their jobs and transition to an Asurion@Home position, and we hope that many of the employees will do so, keeping Asurion as an area employer, just without a physical building," the company's news release statement says.
The directors of auto insurer First Acceptance last week voted to give CEO Joe Borbely and CFO Brent Gay raises of 33 percent and 21 percent, respectively. Borbely, who took over as CEO last fall, will now be paid $400,000. He, Gay and Senior Vice President Daniel Walker also have been awarded a collective $526,000 in bonuses for their 2014 work, which was headlined by a $20 million tax benefit. Check out the full set of numbers here.
First Acceptance posted an operating profit of nearly $3.1 million in the fourth quarter, down slightly from the last three months of 2013. (Net income was helped big time by a $20 million tax benefit thanks to 10 consecutive quarters in the black.) Total premiums rose nicely to $56.3 million from $48.7 million but losses also rose substantially, with the loss ratio climbing to 74.5 percent from 70 percent. The company made that up on the expense side, though, and CEO Joe Borbely says his team early this year began writing policies in Virginia, First Acceptance's 13th state.
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