Spain’s MAPFRE Completes Acquisition of U.S. Insurer Commerce

June 5, 2008

In a joint announcement Spain’s largest insurer, MAPFRE S.A. and The Massachusetts-based Commerce Group, Inc. announced that MAPFRE has completed its acquisition of Commerce. The parties reached agreement on a deal last October (See IJ web site –

Along with its leading position in Spain, MAPFRE “ranks as the leading non-life company in Latin America and is the 11th largest non-life insurer in Europe (as measured in premiums),” said the bulletin. “Commerce is the 20th largest automobile insurer in the United States (as measured in premiums) and its insurance company subsidiaries had nearly $1.9 billion in direct written premiums in 2007. Commerce, the largest auto and homeowners’ insurer in Massachusetts, is licensed in all 50 states and has operations in 17 states.”

At the closing date MAPFRE paid $36.70 per share in cash, a total of $2.211 billion, for the acquisition.

“This is an important day in the history of MAPFRE,” noted Chairman José Manuel Martínez. “Not only is the acquisition of Commerce the largest in the history of our company, but it fits perfectly with MAPFRE´s growth strategy and commitment to turn into a global insurance group.

“Furthermore, it represents a decisive step in MAPFRE’s international expansion, especially in the United States. We want to welcome Commerce’s employees, agents, clients and suppliers to our group, and encourage them to continue to trust and grow on the shared values that have joined our companies.”

Commerce’s Chairman and CEO Gerald Fels indicated that “becoming a part of the MAPFRE Group benefits all of Commerce’s stakeholders and we are proud that we have grown our company from a small start-up in 1971 to a $2 billion business that today becomes part of one of the world’s leading insurance groups. This transaction underscores the commitment of our founder, our shareholders, directors, and employees over the last 37 years to building a world-class business.”

MAPFRE also stated that it intends to maintain Commerce’s headquarters in Webster, Mass. and will continue to write business in Mass. and across the United States through independent insurance agents. The announcement also stated: “Commerce will continue under the leadership of its current management team and its approximately 2,400 employees will retain their jobs.”

Martinez added: “Commerce’s strong independent agent force and its committed, hard working and talented employees were critical considerations in our decision to acquire Commerce.”

Sources: MAPFRE S.A. – and Commerce Insurance –

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