|Copyright:||A.M. Best Company, Inc.|
CNA Financial Corp. said it is opening its newest branch office in Birmingham, Ala. — the fourth of five new U.S. branches the insurer is opening.
CNA (NYSE: CNA) has opened new branch offices in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles in the past year. A new branch office is scheduled to open later this year in Westchester County, N.Y.
Kent Skidmore, recently appointed branch vice president, will lead the Birmingham office, CNA said in a statement.
“CNA can now penetrate the robust market and diverse industries of Birmingham, particularly in our key areas of expertise such as technology, education, real estate, manufacturing and distribution, and business/professional services,” Tom Motamed, chairman and chief executive officer of CNA, said in a statement.
The Birmingham office will employ about 24 people, CNA spokeswoman Katrina Parker-Waddy said, noting CNA has other offices in the south, including Atlanta, New Orleans, Houston, and Florida. “In this case, we’re always looking for opportunities to be closer to producers, and this one fit,” Parker-Waddy said.
In December, CNA Insurance Co. Ltd.’s European branch, CNA Europe moved its Manchester office to the heart of the city’s financial district. The office was designed to accommodate CNA Europe’s expanding team and broker partners. The team has grown steadily since CNA Europe expanded its long-standing marine business to other commercial lines in Manchester in 2000 (BestWire, Dec. 14, 2009).
CNA is producing strong results in specialty lines where CNA expects major growth, according to BestLink, which provides online access to A.M. Best’s Global Insurance & Banking Database.
CNA plans to focus growth strategies on monoline opportunities, such as umbrella, marine, property and equipment breakdown, and it expects to see improvement in profitability as these segments become a larger part of the standard lines portfolio, BestLink noted. CNA expects to open several new U.S. branches over the next year, adding resources and increasing authority at the point of sale, BestLink said.
In Europe, CNA sees the opportunity to strengthen established positions in financial lines, cargo, and property/casualty, while also pursuing specialized risks in emerging areas such as health care, technology, and renewable energy. CNA also plans to approach the Canadian market much like the U.S. operations, BestLink noted.
CNA Insurance Cos. has a current Best’s Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent).
Shares of CNA Financial Corp. were trading in the early afternoon of July 9 at $27.05, up 2% from the previous close.
(By Caroline Saucer, editor, BestWeek: Caroline.Saucer@ambest.com)