Updated March 6 at 12:06pm

Serving homeowners a growing niche

Narragansett Bay Insurance Co. has found a niche in homeowners insurance it is eager to stick with. More

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Serving homeowners a growing niche

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Narragansett Bay Insurance Co. has found a niche in homeowners insurance it is eager to stick with.

“We believe that it’s hard to do one thing really well and there are a lot of people writing automobile insurance,” said Nick Steffey, CEO of Narragansett Bay Insurance Co. “We just don’t think we can be in that market. Our idea is just to be very focused on homeowners, it’s a large market, it’s growing and not that many people want to be in it.”

The company has 80,000 clients in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island – with plans to add additional states, said Mike Anselmo, senior vice president and chief information officer.

Anselmo said growth over the years has exceeded expectations, especially in a state with double-digit unemployment and many companies going through hard economic times.

Annual gross revenue grew from $6.1 million in 2007 to $60.3 million in 2010 and to $114 million, in 2011, Anselmo said. It had 15 employees in 2007 and has 72 today.

The homeowners insurer hired 11 employees this year, including property-claims adjusters, software engineers, systems engineers and a regional vice president, and they plan to fill more positions before year’s end.

In November, Anselmo was recognized as one of Insurance & Technology’s 2011 Elite 8 honorees, for leveraging leading-edge industry ideas to support a rapidly growing company.

The magazine’s Elite 8 showcases insurance and technology executives who lead their organizations’ efforts to create business value and distinction.

Anselmo has led Narragansett Bay’s APEX initiative, an enterprise-technology transformation replacing the company’s legacy systems. Developed to support the company’s strategic focus on homeowners insurance, the company credits APEX with being instrumental in Narragansett Bay’s growth.

The company also is poised to get a boost in sales next year after a Columbus, Ohio-based insurance company decided to pull out of Rhode Island and reduce its offerings in Massachusetts.

State Auto Insurance Cos. stopped writing new auto, home and business insurance policies in Rhode Island and will no longer offer home and auto coverage in Massachusetts. Under an arrangement with State Auto, Narragansett Bay Insurance Co. will extend homeowners-insurance offers to State Auto customers in both states, starting Jan. 1. The agreement involves more than 10,000 home-insurance policies and $9 million in total premiums.

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