The financial problems infesting the world these days have started to snake into the motorcycle insurance industry, with word that Kingsway Financial is in difficulties.
Kingsway and its affiliates (notably Lincoln General Insurance Co), have specialized in niche areas of the insurance business … particularly long-haul trucking, "high-risk" drivers, risk protection for U.S. home builders, and California artisans (WTF? Thank God I’ve sold my pottery kiln), and (of concern to many Canadian riders) motorcycles.
Kingsway has announced that it’s laying off several hundred workers and is looking at a $344-million U.S. loss for the quarter ending December 31, 2008.
The biggest chunk of the loss was a writedown at Lincoln, plus the usual expected portfolio problems with investments.
Calls to Kingsway’s head office in Toronto on Feb. 11 were unanswered — as in 24 rings with not even an automated pickup.