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Greenberg’s Starr expands into US crop insurance

Maurice “Hank” Greenberg’s Starr Cos. is expanding in US crop insurance, joining Bermuda’s Validus Holdings in bets on agriculture after last year’s drought fuelled higher costs for the coverage.

The Starr Indemnity & Liability Co. unit won approval to participate in a government-backed programme from the US Department of Agriculture, the company said yesterday in a statement.

The insurer plans to cover crops including corn, soybeans and wheat, Charles Dangelo, chief executive officer of Starr Indemnity, said in a phone interview with Bloomberg.

“It’s still relatively new” for the insurer to be in the crop business, he said.

The company will target “the heartland of the US,” including states such as Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and Texas, he said.

Private insurers sell and administer the coverage in the US and get a backstop from the federal government.

Australia’s QBE Insurance Group Ltd. and Bermuda-based Validus are among companies that expanded in the business in the US.

The top sellers of the coverage are Wells Fargo & Co. and Ace, led by Hank Greenberg’s son Evan Greenberg.

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Published February 14, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated February 13, 2013 at 7:42 pm)

Greenberg’s Starr expands into US crop insurance

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