Jacksonville, Fla. and BOSTON — Life of the South Corporation (LOTS) announced that Summit Partners, a private equity and venture capital firm, has purchased approximately 85 percent of the issued and outstanding shares in the company. The LOTS senior management group will hold approximately 15 percent of the shares and continue the operations of the company, with no change in location, personnel, or business model. The transaction has been valued at more than $100 million.
The transaction provides LOTS with access to capital to continue its strong growth. Since 2003, the company has doubled its net written premium and entered major new ventures in the direct and database marketing arena. In addition, the company has expanded its licenses and now holds life and property and casualty licenses in 40 states.
The transaction will provide liquidity for the founding shareholders and their families, and also allow the company to expand its presence in the market.
“This intermediate step allows us to accomplish many of the company’s long-term strategic objectives,” said Houston. “We have chosen to work with Summit Partners based on the firm’s track record of industry success, its philosophy of supporting management teams, and our shared vision for Life of the South.” Houston added that he will now retire with the close of the transaction, as will Lloyd Shaw, long-term President of Life of the South Insurance Company.
As a result of the transaction, K. Ned Hamil, president and CEO, will become chairman of the board, while Richard S. Kahlbaugh, COO, will succeed Mr. Hamil as president and CEO. Executive Vice President W. Dale Bullard will lead the credit division of the company and serve as president of its insurance companies. Robert S. Fullington will continue to lead the company’s mass marketing and technology business as president of LOTSolutions Inc.
“Life of the South is a market leader in the insurance services industry, with a proven track record across multiple lines of business. We are pleased to partner with LOTS and help its experienced management team continue to extend this leadership position,” said J.J. Kardwell, a principal with Summit Partners, who will join the company's newly formed board of directors. Summit’s John Carroll and Vasant Kamath will also join the Board.