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Lakewood Ranch insurance firm sold to coastal risk specialty insurer

A property insurer in Lakewood Ranch that has a large footprint in Hawaii and other coastal areas is being sold.
A property insurer in Lakewood Ranch that has a large footprint in Hawaii and other coastal areas is being sold.
Photo by Brian Garrity for Unsplash
  • Manatee-Sarasota
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A Lakewood Ranch property and casualty insurance company is being sold to a newly formed coastal risk specialty insurer.

Omaha, Nebraska-based Applied Underwriters, which owns Centauri Insurance, announced Thursday it would be selling the company to Lilypad Insurance. Lilypad is a subsidiary of Arbol Inc., which provides a climate-risk coverage platform.

Centauri Insurance, headquartered on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and founded in 2006, provides catastrophe coverage and financial protection to clients in Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas, with a particularly large footprint in Hawaii, according to a statement.

“Our strength is in underwriting — we are not weather predictors,” Applied Underwriters President Jamie Sahara says in a statement about the sale. “The admitted property market requires the extraordinarily narrow, concentrated focus of sector specialists with long-term insight and the kind of advanced climate data analysis and related technology that Arbol brings.”

Arbol created Lilypad Insurance to address a hole in the market, the company's leader says.

“Lilypad Insurance is our solution to close the growing coverage gap in coastal communities and expand the total addressable market of parametric insurance by creating hybrid product distribution,” Arbol CEO and founder Sid Jha says in a statement.

“The integration of Centauri's existing capabilities into Lilypad marks a pivotal advancement in our mission to safeguard coastal homeowners,” says COO of Lilypad Insurance Traci Stillwagon, a former member of Centauri’s leadership team. “This transaction not only extends our market reach immediately but also enhances our product offerings, ensuring that more homeowners have access to insurance coverage.”

News of the newly formed Lilypad Insurance comes as some other insurers are pulling out of states like California, Louisiana and Florida, according to a statement

"We established Lilypad as a direct response to the growing insurance coverage gap in catastrophe-prone areas,” Lilypad CEO Ricardo Espino says in the statement. (Espino was president and CEO of Centauri for a decade.) "By leveraging Arbol's advanced climate data and technology infrastructure, we are uniquely positioned to offer tailored insurance solutions to address the risks and challenges of coastal living.”



Elizabeth King

Elizabeth is a business news reporter with the Business Observer, covering primarily Sarasota-Bradenton, in addition to other parts of the region. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, she previously covered hyperlocal news in Maryland for Patch for 12 years. Now she lives in Sarasota County.

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