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Great American Insurance


Great American Insurance


Great American's roots go back to the 1800's with the founding of Great American Insurance Company in 1872, based in New York City. The company symbol was an eagle. The company's first policy was written on March 19, 1872. Through the remainder of the 1800's, Great American continued to grow and attract more agents. Great American entered the twentieth century as one of the most respected and financially stable companies in America with an excellent reputation for paying claims.

In the late 1950s Great American established a life insurance operation, Great American Life Insurance Company. Great American Life began marketing insurance products in 1959 and, over the years, became a leader in providing retirement annuities to the education market. Great American Financial Resources, Inc., formerly American Annuity Group, was formed in 1992 as the holding company for the annuity and life insurance operations of American Financial. Great American Financial Resources has diversified itself over the years and today is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Financial. Its subsidiaries offer a broad range of products, including annuities, life, supplemental health and long-term care insurance products.

Over the years, American Financial divested certain business interests and acquired significant interests in numerous businesses, including American Premier Underwriters, Inc. (formerly The Penn Central Corporation), a former New York Stock Exchange listed public company . American Financial was a major shareholder of American Premier and Carl Lindner was named to its Board of Directors in 1982. In 1983, he became Chairman of the Board and was made Chief Executive Officer in 1987, the same year that American Premier's headquarters moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Under the Lindner family leadership, American Premier made a number of strategic acquisitions and divestitures in order to focus on property and casualty insurance businesses. In 1989, American Premier acquired Republic Indemnity of America, which writes workers' compensation insurance principally in California, and in the early 1990s, it purchased a group of auto insurance companies (Atlanta Casualty Companies, Windsor Group, Infinity Group and Leader Group).

American Premier continued to seek acquisition and investment opportunities primarily in the property and casualty insurance area and, in 1994, engaged an independent investment banking firm to assist in considering various investment opportunities. After several months of review and analysis, the firm presented various alternatives to American Premier's Board of Directors, one of which resulted in the formation of American Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE/NASDAQ: AFG) in April 1995 through mergers of American Financial and American Premier.

Then in early 1999, American Financial Group and Great American adopted a new logo, featuring the traditional symbol of the American eagle as well as the time-honored colors of red and blue. The new look made full use of Great American's brand equity and positioned it as a more modern, forward-looking company.

To continue building national brand image, Great American became the naming rights sponsor for the new home of the Cincinnati Reds, America's first professional baseball team. In the fall of 2000, ground was broken for construction of Great American Ball Park. An alliance with the nation's most beloved sport brings fresh enthusiasm - and national visibility - to the company. Opening Day 2003: an exciting new chapter in the Great American story!

In early 2003, a major shift in the profile of Great American Insurance Group resulted from the sale of its agency-based personal lines business in connection with the public offering of Infinity Property and Casualty Corporation ("Infinity") by American Financial Group. Several former members of Great American Insurance Group, including the Atlanta Casualty Companies, Infinity Group, Leader Group and Windsor Group, are now owned by Infinity. In addition, Great American Insurance Company transferred to Infinity its personal lines insurance business written through independent agents. At that time, AFG retained 39% of Infinity's outstanding common stock. In December of 2003, AFG sold its remaining shares of Infinity.

This move set the stage for Great American to be a stronger niche player in the specialty lines insurance business. Great American's Specialty Group continues to strengthen the links between its specialized business lines focused on providing products and services primarily to businesses and institutions.

Today, Great American Insurance Group, owned by American Financial Group (NYSE/NASDAQ:AFG), is engaged primarily in specialty property and casualty insurance businesses and in the sale of retirement annuities, life and supplemental health insurance products. The Carl Lindner family remains a significant holder of AFG's common stock.

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