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Argo (formerly Argonaut) is an international holding company that maintains a number of subsidiaries in the U.S., Europe, South America and Asia.
When the company was originally founded in 1948, it was a California-based provider of workers compensation insurance. Through a series of mergers and acquisitions, it grew to its current multinational holding company status. Argonaut was re-branded to Argo Group in 2008, and it began aggressively re-forming its subsidiaries to seek out specific niches. Colony Casualty came about in 2010 as a merger of Colony Insurance and Argonaut Specialty, two formerly separate subsidiaries.
All of this means that Colony Specialty, as a new player on the scene, and needs to be differentiated from both of the former companies that form its roots.
Today, Colony Specialty is a provider of commercial property, auto, and liability insurance. It primarily sells surplus and excess coverage, which provides some protection for difficult-to-insure businesses. Other types of specialty insurance are available as well.
Altogether, Colony is a very niche insurer, not a jack-of-all-trades. This distinction has allowed it to become one of the top 10 excess and surplus lines carriers in the country.
Excess and surplus lines is a fancy term for high-risk business insurance. Just as non-standard auto insurance covers individual drivers who are unable to get insurance elsewhere, excess and surplus lines insurance gives protection to businesses with unique risks that make them otherwise hard to insure.
In a lot of cases, your entire business will not be insured by the excess/surplus company, which is how the “excess” term is derived. Instead, the company will insure only those parts of your business that pose non-standard risks, leaving the rest of the business to be insured through a standard company. In other words, you’ll probably carry a Colony policy alongside another type of commercial property and casualty insurance.
You can obtain that property and casualty insurance from another Argo Group company, or you can insure your business through a different company altogether and use Colony just as a supplement. In either case, you likely won’t dip into the Colony policy except under specific circumstances, such as when a claim falls outside the range of your natural policy but is within the parameters of the specialty “excess” insurance.
In terms of specific plans and policies sold by Colony, there are too many to list since they can be very specific both to various industries and to certain risks. Finding information about these plans on the company’s website is a challenge as well.
From the Colony Specialty page, click “Applications“ to see what products are available. Every product will require its own individual application, so it may be best to discuss your needs with an agent to ensure you’re getting exactly what you want and are not leaving any gaps in your coverage.
The Colony Specialty website is difficult to navigate and written in very technical language, making it a challenge to find what you’re looking for. I definitely recommend finding a good agent to decipher it for you and decide from there what products you may need and obtain a quote for that coverage.
To locate an agent, click “Find a Broker” on the left-hand side of the screen, or click here. You can search by state, zip code or agency name. This last feature is helpful if you already have primary insurance and want to check whether your current agent will be able to sell you a supplemental policy through Colony. Otherwise, you may need a second agent for the supplemental policy.
There is a phone number listed on the website as well for questions regarding the company’s products and services: 804-560-2000. This is the corporate office number, not a customer service number, so your questions are still probably best answered through an agency.
To file a claim, you’ll need to call customer service or send an email or fax to the claims department. The phone number is 855-225-7204. Other contact information, like the mailing address, can be found by clicking “Claims“ on the left-hand side of the company’s webpage.
When filling out a claim, it will be faster to fill out a loss notice form and submit it via email or fax. The necessary forms can be downloaded from the company website.
Once you’ve submitted the appropriate information, a representative should be in touch with you within 24 hours in order to proceed with the claim.
Although the company is not accredited, it does have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. In the last three years, there is only one complaint listed on the BBB site. Because Colony is a specialty insurer of businesses, it’s not the sort of company that invites a lot of consumer reviews and opinions.
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Colony is a specialty insurance company that will most likely be introduced by an insurance agent or broker. They act primarily as a “backup” to a traditional policy, and for that reason are not used as much. It is more important to trust the agent you are working with, since you will have little contact with Colony directly. If they say they are a good option, they probably are for your circumstances.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.