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Randy Talbot Buys Firm Back From Safeco

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The former chief executive of Talbot Financial Corp., Albuquerque, N.M., has completed previously announced plans to buy the insurance brokerage back from Safeco Corp., Seattle, for $90 million.[@@]

Randy Talbot, the president of Safeco’s life insurance unit and son of Talbot Financial founder Lyle Talbot, paid for the deal with financing from Hub International Ltd., Chicago.

Safeco also has announced a separate deal to sell the Safeco life unit to an investment group led by White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd., Hamilton, Bermuda, and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Omaha, Neb., for $1.35 billion.

For now, Randy Talbot will continue to serve as the life unit’s president, Safeco says.

Talbot ended up working at Safeco in the first place because of an earlier acquisition. Lyle Talbot started Talbot Financial in 1957, and Randy Talbot took over as chief executive in 1988. Safeco bought the firm in 1993. A few years later, Safeco made Randy Talbot president of its life unit and named another executive to run Talbot Financial.

Safeco says it is selling Talbot Financial and its life operations to focus on its property-casualty operations.