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Fairfax to purchase Hartville Group

Fairfax Financial Holdings has signed a merger agreement to enable Hartville Group of Canton, Ohio, to become a wholly-owned firm of Crum & Forster's US Fire Insurance, subject to customary conditions including regulatory approval.

The transaction is expected to close early in the third quarter of 2013.

As an exclusive strategic partner with The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Hartville provides pet insurance plans under several brand names in the US, including Hartville Pet Insurance and the Petshealth Care Plan.

Fairfax chairman and CEO Prem Watsa said the acquisition represented a new phase in the company’s existing relationship with Hartville, which worked very closely with Fairmont Specialty since 2006.

"As a result of the vertical integration created by this merger, Hartville’s pet insurance programs will be uniquely positioned in the industry to generate sustainable growth," Watsa added.

The financial services holding company, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in property and casualty insurance and reinsurance and investment management.