Assurant Acquires StreetLinks to Bolster Mortgage Business

Apr 16, 2014 4:56 pm ET

(Updates with comment from Novation in last paragraph.)

April 16 (Bloomberg) -- Assurant Inc., the insurer of foreclosed homes, acquired StreetLinks LLC from a group of owners led by Novation Cos. for about $60 million in cash to expand appraisal services for the mortgage industry.

The transaction probably will add to earnings next year, New York-based Assurant said today in a statement. Assurant’s payment for the deal may increase, based on the business’s future performance, the company said. StreetLinks will retain its brand name and remain headquartered in Indianapolis, according to the statement.

Assurant is seeking to diversify revenue at its specialty unit after regulators pressured the company to cut premiums and refund homeowners amid probes into the ties between insurers and banks involving force-placed coverage. Those policies involve mandatory residential insurance for mortgage borrowers who lapse on insurance payments with their original carriers.

“This acquisition is a natural extension for Assurant Specialty Property,” Gene Mergelmeyer, the chief executive officer of the unit, said in the statement. “We are a leader in insurance, preservation and other services for the mortgage industry, and StreetLinks is a leader in valuation solutions and technologies used by lenders and appraisers nationwide.”

Novation owned about 88 percent of StreetLinks and will use proceeds from the sale to bolster its cloud-based communications software subsidiary, the company said in a separate statement.