Calif. AAA’s Pentis Joins Commerce Group to Run Operations Outside Mass.

The Commerce Group, Inc. in Massachusetts announced that Lawrence R. Pentis of California will join the company’s senior executive team. He will be responsible for insurance operations outside of Massachusetts as the executive vice president and chief operating officer of American Commerce Insurance Co. and Commerce West Insurance Co.

In this new role, Pentis, a former executive of the California State Automobile Association (an AAA association serving millions of members in Northern California, Nevada, and Utah), will focus on the development and growth of this out-of-state business segment.

The appointment of Pentis follows the recent naming of James A. Ermilio as executive vice president of Massachusetts insurance operations.

Together these appointments are meant to position the company to accomplish the dual goals of maintaining its leading market share in Massachusetts and accelerating expansion efforts outside of the state,” according to Gerald Fels, president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of The Commerce Group. “These steps will continue moving Commerce forward as the industry changes and grows.”

Pentis most recently served as senior vice president for insurance operations, for the California State Automobile Association. During his 17 years at CSAA, he managed product management, underwriting and claims. More recently, Pentis expanded CSAA’s business from writing in three states to 16 states over a three year period. He also held senior positions in investments and taxation, financial administration, and products and pricing.

Pentis will join the Commerce Group in January 2007.

The Commerce Group, Inc. is headquartered in Webster, Mass. Property and casualty insurance subsidiaries include The Commerce Insurance Co. and Citation Insurance Co. in Massachusetts, Commerce West Insurance Co. in California, and American Commerce Insurance Co. in Ohio. Through its subsidiaries’ combined insurance activities, the company is ranked as the 19th largest personal automobile insurance group in the country by A.M. Best Co., based on 2005 direct written premium information. The company and its insurance subsidiaries are rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best.