Bermuda-headquartered specialist insurer Hiscox has announced its intention to acquire US insurance holding company Altoha and its subsidiaries, American Live Stock Insurance Company and Harding & Harding, subject to regulatory approval.

The purchase price is $55 million, which will be satisfied out of internal resources, and Hiscox will acquire net tangible assets of $45 million. Closing of the deal is expected in July.

American Live Stock Insurance Company is an admitted insurance company with licenses in all 50 US states. Its main business is animal mortality insurance for cattle and horses. In 2006, it had gross written premium income of $16.9 million and a combined ratio of 80.9%.

As an affiliated agency, Harding & Harding places all of its business with American Live Stock Insurance Company.

Earlier in the year we said that in order to continue to develop our US business we would acquire an admitted insurance carrier when the right opportunity arose. The acquisition of Altoha is an excellent fit on all fronts. It gives us a carrier admitted in 50 states through which we can expand our existing US operations and product offering, commented Bronek Masojada, chief executive of Hiscox.