Hub International Acquires Michigan Insurance Firm; Burnham Unit Expanding Operations in Southwest Michigan


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 Add Title:  Hub International Acquires Michigan Insurance Firm; Burnham Unit Expanding Operations in Southwest Michigan
 Location:  Chicago
 Date:    2003-01-29  
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Hub International Limited (NYSE: HBG and TSX: HBG) announced today that one of its major hub insurance brokerage facilities, Battle Creek, Michigan-based Burnham Insurance Group, Inc. (Burnham), purchased the stock of Alberts Insurance Agency, Inc. (Alberts) on January 1, 2003 for an undisclosed amount of cash. Alberts, which is located in Benton Harbor, Michigan, where it will remain, was founded in 1934. The agency has approximately $325,000 in revenue, primarily from arranging commercial insurance coverage for small and mid-size clients in the Southwest Michigan area.

Jerrold Alberts, the firm's President and majority shareholder, has been in the insurance industry 40 years. He is a graduate of Indiana University where he majored in Insurance. At Burnham, he will be a Branch Manager and Commercial Lines Producer, reporting to Edward Burnham, Executive Vice President and Manager of Burnham's Property and Casualty Group. Lydia Fulmer, Alberts Vice President and Account Executive for the company's commercial clients, will continue to work closely with Mr. Alberts to service and maintain their current customers as well as add new ones.

Burnham currently has satellite operations in Portage, Millburg and Niles, Michigan. Charles C. Burnham, the unit's President and Chief Executive Officer, said that the Alberts acquisition will further strengthen the organization's impact in the region and provide cross-selling opportunities, especially for life and health insurance products, among the three offices. Mr. Burnham added, "We've got some talented and experienced people coming over from Alberts, and the scale they bring to our presence in the territory should enable us to expand production. This is an example of Hub's strategy to roll in local agencies that make a good fit with its regional brokerage hubs." In the second half of 2002, Hub completed four similar roll-ins to regional facilities in the Northeast and also created two new hub operations.

Mr. Alberts said that joining forces with Burnham would enable his firm to continue local service to its clientele while expanding their offerings and augmenting their marketing efforts. "We've been servicing the Southwest Michigan community for almost 70 years," Mr. Alberts continued, "and being part of a successful regional firm like Burnham will enable us to maintain our traditional close neighborhood associations while offering our clients an even broader range of products and services plus the benefits of strong relationships with insurance companies."

Headquartered in Chicago, IL, Hub International is a leading North American insurance brokerage that 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, 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 U.S. insurance brokerage industry by acquiring quality firms in key geographic regions that focus on servicing middle-market commercial businesses. In addition, Hub plans to leverage its decentralized approach, differentiate its service, and capitalize on its scale to provide broader product offerings to its clients through multiple distribution channels. Hub International currently has eleven large "hub" brokerages 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 other Hub International offices in its territory. The hub brokerages are responsible for growth through sales, service and fold-in acquisitions. The hub offices report to the head office which, in addition to monitoring the activity of each hub, retains responsibility for identifying and acquiring additional hub brokerages.

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 and 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 corresponding fluctuations 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.

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W. Kirk James (IR & MR), 312/279-4881
Burnham Insurance Group
Charles C. Burnham, 616/441-5035
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 SOURCE :   Hub International Limited