For the Westfield Group, farming is in its blood. One of the top agribusiness insurers in the US, the company offers commercial and personal property/casualty insurance to customers in about 20 states and surety services to customers in just over 30 states. Westfield Group also offers banking services through Westfield Bancorp (dba Westfield Bank) as well as title and broker services. The firm offers such standard personal lines as auto and homeowners insurance; its niche products include fidelity and surety bonds. The group is represented by more than 1,200 independent agents. The privately held Westfield Group is not related to Australian retail property giant Westfield Group.
The majority of the company's business comes from writing personal lines of insurance, followed by middle market and small business accounts. Although Westfield provides broad coverage, the company targets customers who own both a home and a car and who make value-based decisions rather than decisions based on cost alone to grow its personal lines business. Its surety business, which is a much smaller part of its overall business, recorded profitable growth for 55 consecutive years in 2010.
The company provides insurance through a number of subsidiaries, including Ohio Farmers Insurance, Westfield Insurance, Westfield National Insurance, American Select Insurance, and Old Guard Insurance.
Westfield sells its products throughout the country through teams of agents who specialize in specific demographics, such as middle market or small business clients (two areas in which the company wants to continue to grow). Among commercial clients, small businesses (manufacturers, retail, and contracting operations, among others) make up the majority of Westfield's customer-base. The company also concentrates its offerings in certain regions to fit the local customer bases. It has been steadily expanding and has moved into states in the Southeast and Southwest in recent years.
Westfield views its combined capabilities in banking and insurance as a differentiating factor and catalyst for future opportunities. The group's Westfield Bank provides financial services, consulting services, structured settlements to policyholders, and brokerage services. The bank has continued to grow in profitability in its 10 years of operation. In 2010 it held almost $575 million in assets an increase of almost 10%. In 2011 the group shed some of its financial business portfolio as subsidiary Ohio Farmers Insurance Company sold its Westfield Financial Corporation with its Ward Financial Group subsidiary (benchmarking and best practices research studies for North American insurance companies) to Aon Corporation. Aon plans to integrate Ward with its McLagan Partners, an Aon Hewitt firm.
In addition to providing insurance and financial services, Westfield owns the Westfield Group Country Club, a 36-hole championship golf course; the Westfield Inn, a private hotel; and the Blair Center, a convention and special event location.
The company traces its roots back to the late 1840s when a group of farmers in Ohio created their own property insurance provider out of their distrust of East Coast insurers. – less