Further New England Growth for Hub International; McCarthy Unit Purchases 62-Year Old Piazza Insurance Agency


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 Add Title:  Further New England Growth for Hub International; McCarthy Unit Purchases 62-Year Old Piazza Insurance Agency
 Location:  Chicago
 Date:    2002-11-11  
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Hub International Limited (NYSE: HBG; TSX: HBG) announced that Massachusetts-based C.J. McCarthy Insurance Agency, Inc. (McCarthy), one of Hub's retail brokerage units, today purchased for an undisclosed amount of cash the assets of the Piazza Insurance Agency, Inc. of Andover, Massachusetts. Piazza, which generates approximately $1 million in annual revenue, was founded in 1940 by the grandfather of current Piazza President, John F. Piazza. The operations of the acquired agency will be moved to McCarthy's main office in Wilmington, Massachusetts, where Mr. Piazza will become a Senior Vice President, reporting to McCarthy President, Richard J. Palleschi.

This purchase is the second recent acquisition for McCarthy. On October 8, 2002, it announced the acquisition of the Trussell agencies, specialists in insurance for real estate businesses in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Piazza also focuses on real estate coverages, primarily for residential apartment complexes.

Commenting on the Piazza transaction, Mr. Palleschi and Bruce D. Guthart, President of Hub's US Operations, noted that Piazza's book of real estate insurance would be a meaningful complement to McCarthy's existing real estate insurance practice. In their statement they added, "Part of Hub's growth strategy is to find opportunities to augment particular industry specializations. This acquisition strengthens us not only with existing and prospective clients in that segment but also with insurance carriers who are enthusiastic about writing that kind of business. Folding in the additional real estate business that John Piazza has developed fits that strategy perfectly as does adding John and his talented group to our organization."

Mr. Piazza noted that joining forces with Hub is both timely and promising. "Over the years our firm has demonstrated excellent production capabilities," he said, "But in today's challenging insurance coverage and pricing environment joining forces with Hub and having the advantage of their broad and varied carrier relationships is critically important. With the strength of Hub behind us, we'll be able to do more for our clients and be more effective in competing for new business."

Hub International currently has nine large "hub" brokerages, including McCarthy, that have significant market presence in their geographic regions in the U.S. and Canada. Each hub provides insurance brokerage services and manages the various smaller Hub International brokerages in its territory. The hub brokerages are responsible for growth through sales, service and acquisitions, while the head office, located in Chicago, IL, coordinates access to the insurance market, expands the use of best practices among the hubs and manages the acquisition of additional hub operations.

A leading North American brokerage, Hub International has grown rapidly since its formation in 1998 through mergers, acquisitions and organic growth. It provides a broad array of property and casualty, life and health, employee benefits and investment and risk management products and services through offices located in the United States and Canada. Hub International's strategy is to expand its market share in the highly fragmented North American insurance broker industry by acquiring quality brokerages in key geographic regions serving middle-market commercial businesses, to leverage its decentralized approach in order to differentiate its services and to capitalize on its scale to provide broad product offerings to its clients through multiple distribution channels. Additional information on Hub International can be found at its website: http://www.hubinternational.com.

This press release may contain forward-looking statements which reflect our current views with respect to future events and financial performance. These forward-looking statements relate, among other things, to our plans and objectives for future operations. These forward-looking statements are subject to uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from such statements. These uncertainties and other factors include, but are not limited to, risks associated with implementing our business strategies, identifying and consummating acquisitions, integrating acquired brokerages, attaining greater market share, developing and implementing effective information technology systems, recruiting and retaining qualified employees, fluctuations in the premiums charged by insurance companies with a corresponding fluctuation in our premium-based revenue, any loss of services of key executives, industry consolidation, increased competition in the industry, fluctuations in the demand for insurance products and the passage of new legislation subjecting our business to regulation in jurisdictions where we operate. We caution readers not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Additional information regarding these risks and other factors that could cause Hub International's actual results to differ materially from our expectations is contained in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Except as otherwise required by federal securities laws, Hub International undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

 In the following box below, please add a contact information.
Richard J. Palleschi, President, C.J. McCarthy Insurance Agency, Inc.
Phone: 978-661-6646
For additional information regarding Hub International, contact:
W. Kirk James
Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel
Phone: 312.279.4881
 Please, enter the source in the following box.   
 SOURCE :   Hub International Limited