Prem Watsa's Fairfax Financial to acquire Brit Insurance

Canada's Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd today said that its RiverStone runoff unit would buy UK's Brit Insurance Limited from Brit Group for about $300 million.

The move comes a month after Fairfax, a property and casualty insurer run by Prem Watsa, agreed to buy debt-ridden travel services provider Thomas Cook Group Plc's 77 per cent stake in its Indian operations for about Rs817.4 crore ($150 million). (See: Prem Watsa's Fairfax Financial to buy Thomas Cook India for Rs817.4 crore)

Toronto-based Fairfax said that its RiverStone runoff subsidiary has entered into an agreement with Amsterdam-based Brit Insurance Holdings NV to buy Brit Insurance Ltd, for about $300 million, subject to certain adjustments at closing.

London-based Brit Insurance had net reserves of about $1.3 billion, cash and invested assets of about $1.9 billion, and its book value was approximately $530 million as at 31 March.

RiverStone is expected to fund the acquisition through internal resources.

Brit Insurance Limited wrote UK domestic as well as some international insurance and reinsurance before being placed into 'runoff' earlier this year, the company said. The term runoff is used when an insurance company stops new business and only manages existing ones until all policies expire.