Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Dec 18, 2020

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Colony Specialty Insurance

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Colony Specialty is an excess and surplus commercial insurance company covering non-standard niche risks. They are a member of international holding company Argo Group.

What is Colony Specialty?

Originally founded in 1988 under a different name, Colony Insurance began using the Colony name in 1994 and built a reputation as a non-standard excess and surplus insurance company for hard-to-insure commercial risks.

In 2001 Colony was acquired by The Argonaut Group, which later shortened its name to Argo Group. The 2010 merger of Colony Insurance with Argonaut Specialty formed the company as it stands today: Colony Specialty.

Colony Specialty is licensed in 49 states and the District of Columbia. The company itself is a Virginia based company with offices in Richmond, VA, while the Argo Group is based out of Bermuda. Products are sold through insurance agents across the service area.

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What types of insurance products are offered?

Colony focuses on specialty excess and surplus products in the commercial market. They are a very specific niche insurance company that provides coverage for those portions of a company’s risks that are ineligible for coverage through a standard commercial insurance package policy.

Because the company’s products are diverse and usually purchased as an add-on to a full commercial insurance policy issued either by another Argo member company or by another insurer. Because of the specific nature of these products, it is hard to provide a good description.

Some of the products listed on the Colony section of Argo’s website are:

  • Monoline Inland Marine
  • Dry Cleaner Pollution
  • Storage Tank Pollution
  • Premises Environmental and Remediation Liability
  • Contractor’s Pollution Liability and Errors and Omissions
  • Excess Environmental Liability
  • Restoration Contractors
  • Industrial Products
  • Facilities Environmental Coverage
  • Contractors and Consultants Environmental Coverage
  • Specialty Property
  • Primary and Excess Casualty
  • Transportation

The details of these products are specific and complex, and best explained by an agent working with a company to put together all of the necessary coverage for proper protection.

Does the company offer competitive rates?

Colony Specialty does not have any sort of online quoting, which is exactly what we expect from a company that is so specialized.

This type of risk is very specific in nature and requires a lot of business information and details in order to make sure quotes are accurate. The type of business seeking this coverage does best sitting down with an agent to make sense of their needs and coverage options.

There is a section on the website to help potential new customers find their local broker.

Can claims be filed online?

Claims for the insurer’s policies can be filed over the phone, via email, or by fax. There is also a mailing address available on the claims page. Email is the only electronic option for filing a claim; there is no online form that can be filled out to submit.

Colony promises that someone will be in contact within 24 hours of the claim being received. Beyond that, there is little information on the claims process. It likely varies based on the type of product and the details of the claim; with specialty products like these claims are not always straightforward.

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Are the ratings and consumer reviews positive?

The company is not rated by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) but does have an A+ rating with only one complaint on file in the past three years. There are no complaints in the past twelve months.

Google has four reviews of this company with an overall three-star rating. Only one of the reviews has any detail, and it is written by someone who had a claim against one of Colony’s insured companies denied, not an actual Colony customer. The two positive reviews have no comments at all.

That is the limit of what we were able to find for this company. It is not unusual to see little in the way of reviews for specialty companies, especially commercial ones.

What’s the bottom line?

Because of the nature of Colony’s products, it is hard to compare them to other companies or to draw any real conclusions regarding the company. Certainly, there are no red flags in their reputation, and we saw nothing to lead us to advise against putting this company on your quote list.