Hawaii Insurance Commissioner J.P. Schmidt announced a new insurance option for homeowners; effective Sept. 22, 2008, Universal North America Insurance Co. will offer homeowners (including hurricane option), dwelling, fire, and flood policies in the state, with automobile coverage expected to be added in 2009.
“There is a need in the Hawai’i market for a highly rated, stable insurance carrier providing wind coverage at a competitive price,”
Schmidt said. Unlike many other policies in Hawaii, he said the company’s standard homeowners insurance policy will provide the option to include coverage for hurricane loss. Agents and policyholders will enjoy the convenience of one policy that provides coverage for hurricane loss and all other covered perils.
“Hawai’i provides a unique opportunity for Universal to expand and diversify through an exceptional existing independent agency network.” said James R. Watje, Universal North America vice president of operations for the Western Region. ”
Universal North America will also offer flood insurance and home equipment protection, which will cover mechanical breakdown for items such as air conditioning systems, telephone and security systems and swimming pool equipment.
“Our expansion into Hawai’i is a continuation of the company’s strategic plan into the U.S. personal lines market,” said Rick Espino, president of Universal North America. “The strategic plan includes a course of prudent underwriting and reserving activities, coupled with careful expansion.”
The expansion into Hawai’i marks the fifth state where Universal North America writes homeowners policies, following Texas, South Carolina, Arizona and Nevada. Expansion into other states, including California in 2009, is expected.
Universal North America is rated “A-” by A.M. Best, and is a subsidiary of Universal Group Inc.
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