Markel,a property and casualty insurance holding company, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Nebraska-based Aspen Holdings, a privately held insurance group that provides workers' compensation insurance and related services, principally to small businesses, in 31 states.

Markel has said that Aspen operates primarily through FirstComp Insurance; FirstComp Underwriters Group and FirstComp Insurance Agency, which act as managing general agents; and REX, which operates as a wholesale intermediary.


Aspen’s subsidiaries collectively underwrite more than $300m of gross written premium annually and operate through a network of over 9,000 retail agents and have more than 500 employees based in Nebraska, Rhode Island, Nevada, California and Florida.


According to the Markel, upon completion of the acquisition, Aspen will continue to operate as a separate business unit, with Luke Yeransian, Aspen’s current CEO, as president. The operating unit will be part of Markel’s specialty admitted segment, headed by Mike Crowley, Markel’s president and co-chief operating officer.


Mike Crowley, president and co-chief operating officer at Markel, said: This transaction presents an excellent opportunity for Markel to use its financial strength to allow Aspen to increase its penetration in the states where it currently operates, expand geographically and retain a greater share of the business it generates over time.


Aspen has developed a state-of-the-art technology platform enabling it to efficiently quote, bind and issue more than 100,000 policies annually. This platform can be leveraged to offer additional Markel specialty product lines, and Aspen’s workers’ compensation expertise can be brought to bear to service current Markel customers.


Luke Yeransian, CEO at Aspen, said: The acquisition by Markel gives us an opportunity to match Markel’s financial strength with our extensive distribution network and technology platform to continue to grow the workers’ compensation business.


The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and approval of Aspen’s shareholders, and is expected to close before year-end.