Huntington Bancshares has acquired its third life insurance agency and first full-service shop in buying J. Rolfe Davis Insurance Agency of Maitland, Fla., for an undisclosed amount.
J. Rolfe, Florida's third-largest independently owned insurance agency, with $150 million of premiums, offers life and health and property and casualty insurance in the Orlando area. Huntington's previous acquisitions in the sector were smaller ones in 1997, when it bought Tice Insurance Agency of Columbus, Ohio, where $29 billion-asset Huntington is based, and Pollock & Pollock Insurance Agency of Cleveland.
Tice and Pollock & Pollock were renamed Huntington Insurance Services, but the Florida agency will keep its name.
"J. Rolfe Davis was the mayor of Orlando in the 1940s, and the name brings credibility to the agency, which is obviously important to us," said James Dunlap, president of Huntington's southern region in Maitland. "The insurance industry is new to us; it is not to them. We realize that these guys have a solid relationship with the community and have expertise in the field."
Huntington Banchsares, which has operations in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, and Virginia, is still scouting insurance deals.
"We're searching for large agencies that offer full-service operations, like" J. Rolfe, said Bill Browning, president of Huntington Insurance Services in Columbus.
Huntington has 135 bank branches, $4 billion of deposits and $2 billion of loans in Florida. In Orlando alone it has 30 branches, nine of them in grocery stores.
Mr. Dunlap mentioned Michigan and Ohio as possible locations of future agency buys for Huntington.
"If we want to offer full financial services, we have to make more acquisitions like J. Rolfe," he said. "We'll start by looking in the major metropolitan areas where we already offer banking services."
Other banks are using a similar route in insurance. BB&T Corp., which has bought 54 agencies, is a notable example.
J. Rolfe does 70% of its business in property and casualty and the rest in life and health insurance.
"The average agency is more heavily dependent on property and casualty revenue and is therefore more susceptible to line-of-business market fluctuations," said John Wepler, a principal and senior vice president of mergers and acquisitions at Marsh Berry & Co. of Concord, Ohio, which represented J. Rolfe Davis in the deal, which was announced Thursday.
"Unlike most agencies," Mr. Wepler added, "the book of business at this agency has been produced and is being handled by a large number of quality producers, rather than by a small number of agency owners, so I believe Huntington has established an insurance beachhead in Florida."