Profile: Assurant Inc (AIZ)
7 Mar 2014
Assurant, Inc. (Assurant) is a provider of specialized insurance products and related services in North America and select worldwide markets. The Company operates in four segments: Assurant Solutions, Assurant Specialty Property, Assurant Health, and Assurant Employee Benefits. The products offered by the segments include warranties and service contracts, pre-funded funeral insurance, lender-placed homeowners insurance, manufactured housing homeowners insurance, individual health and small employer group health insurance, group dental, disability, and life insurance and employee-funded voluntary benefits. On June 21, 2011, the Company acquired the SureDeposit business, the provider of security deposit alternatives to the multifamily housing industry. In October 2013, FirstService Corporation completed the sale of its Field Asset Services business to Assurant, Inc. In October 2013, Assurant Inc acquired Lifestyle Services Group Ltd.
Assurant Solutions targets three product areas: domestic and international extended service contracts (ESC) and warranties, preneed life insurance, and international credit insurance. Through partnerships with retailers and original equipment manufacturers, the Company underwrites and provides administrative services for ESC and warranties. These contracts provide consumers with coverage on cellular phones, personal computers, consumer electronics, appliances, automobiles and recreational vehicles, protecting them from certain covered losses. It pays the cost of repairing or replacing customers’ property in the event of mechanical breakdown, accidental damage, and casualty losses such as theft, fire, and water damage. The Company provides administration, claims handling and customer service. Preneed life insurance allows individuals to prepay for a funeral in a single payment or in multiple payments over a fixed number of years. The insurance policy proceeds are used to address funeral costs at death. These products are only sold in the United States and Canada and are generally structured as whole life insurance policies in the United States and annuity products in Canada.
The Company’s credit insurance products offer protection from life events and uncertainties that arise in purchasing and borrowing transactions. Credit insurance programs offer consumers the option to protect a credit card balance or installment loan in the event of death, involuntary unemployment or disability, and are generally available to all consumers without the underwriting restrictions that apply to term life insurance. In addition to the domestic market, the Company operates in Canada, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Chile, Germany, Spain, Italy, Mexico and China. In these markets, it primarily sells ESC and credit insurance products through agreements with financial institutions, retailers and wireless service providers.
Assurant Specialty Property
The product line within Assurant Specialty Property is homeowners insurance, consisting principally of fire and dwelling hazard insurance offered through its lender-placed programs. The lender-placed program provides collateral protection to lenders, mortgage servicers and investors in mortgaged properties in the event that a homeowner does not maintain insurance on a mortgaged dwelling. Lender-placed insurance coverage is not limited to the outstanding loan balance; it provides structural coverage, similar to that of a standard homeowners policy. The policy is based on the replacement cost of the property and ensures that a home can be repaired or rebuilt completely in the event of damage. The Company also provides insurance to some of its clients on properties that have been foreclosed and are being managed by its clients. This type of insurance is called Real Estate Owned (REO) insurance. Lender-placed and voluntary manufactured housing insurance: Manufactured housing insurance is offered on a lender-placed and voluntary basis. Lender-placed insurance is issued after an insurance tracking process similar to that described above. The tracking is performed by Assurant Specialty Property using an insurance tracking administration system, or by the lenders themselves.
The Company has developed products in adjacent and emerging markets, such as the lender-placed flood and mandatory insurance rental markets. It also acts as an administrator for the United States Government under the voluntary National Flood Insurance Program, for which it earns a fee for collecting premiums and processing claims. This business is 100% reinsured to the Federal Government. The Company offers its manufactured housing insurance programs primarily through manufactured housing lenders and retailers, along with independent specialty agents. The independent specialty agents distribute flood products and miscellaneous specialty property products. Multi-family housing products are distributed primarily through property management companies and affinity marketing partners. Its lender-placed homeowners insurance program and certain of its manufactured home products are not underwritten on an individual policy basis.
Assurant Health offers medical insurance and short-term medical insurance to individuals and families in the medical insurance market. Its products are offered with different plan options. Assurant Health also offers medical insurance to small employer groups. The Company’s medical insurance products are sold to individuals, primarily between the ages of 18 and 64, and their families, who do not have employer-sponsored coverage. It offers a variety of benefit plans at different price points. The Company’s group medical insurance is primarily sold to small companies with 2 to 50 employees, although larger employer coverage is available. The Company’s health insurance products are principally marketed through a network of independent agents. It also markets through a variety of national account relationships and direct distribution channels. In addition, the Company markets its products through North Star Marketing, a wholly owned affiliate.
Assurant Employee Benefits
The Company offers group disability, dental, vision, life and supplemental worksite products, as well as individual dental products. The group products are offered with funding options ranging from fully employer-paid to fully employee-paid (voluntary). In addition, it reinsures disability and life products through its wholly owned subsidiary, Disability Reinsurance Management Services, Inc. (DRMS). Group disability insurance provides partial replacement of lost earnings for insured employees who become disabled, as defined by their plan provisions. The Company’s products include both short- and long-term disability coverage options. It also reinsures disability policies written by other carriers through its DRMS subsidiary.
Dental benefit plans provide funding for necessary or elective dental care. Customers may select a traditional indemnity arrangement, a preferred provider organization (PPO) arrangement, or a prepaid or managed care arrangement. Coverage is subject to deductibles, coinsurance and annual or lifetime maximums. In a prepaid plan, members must use participating dentists in order to receive benefits. Assurant Employee Benefits owns and operates Dental Health Alliance, L.L.C., a dental PPO network. The Company also has an agreement with Aetna that allows it to use Aetna’s Dental Access network. Fully insured vision coverage is offered through its agreement with Vision Service Plan, Inc., a supplier of vision insurance. The Company’s plans cover eye exams, glasses and contact lenses, and are sold in combination with one or more of its other products.
Group term life insurance provided through the workplace provides benefits in the event of death. The Company also provides accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance. Insurance consists primarily of renewable term life insurance with the amount of coverage provided being either a flat amount, a multiple of the employee’s earnings, or a combination of the two. It also reinsures life policies written by other carriers through DRMS. In addition, the Company provides group critical illness, cancer, accident, and gap insurance. These products are paid for by the employee through payroll deduction, and the employee is enrolled in the coverage(s) at the worksite. Its products and services are distributed through a group sales force located in 34 offices near metropolitan areas.
41st Floor, One Chase Manhattan
NEW YORK NY 10005