NU Online News Service, April 14, 2005, 5:10 p.m. EDT

A big insurance broker has found new homes for 2 benefit plan services units.[@@]

Arthur J. Gallagher & Company, Itasca, Ill., has sold Northshore International Services, Danvers, Mass., to the NiiS management team and Gallagher Benefit Administrators Inc., Lisle, Ill., to the Parker Group, Lubbock, Texas.

Arthur J. Gallagher is not saying how much the buyers are paying, but it says it will be keeping the APEX Group, Princeton, N.J., an insurance consulting firm acquired along with NiiS in 2002.

NiiS sells medical claims management and auditing services. In addition to the main office in Massachusetts, NiiS has offices in Illinois, Georgia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The other unit sold, GBA, helps manage benefit plans with 500,000 members in California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas.

GBA’s new owner, the Parker Group, started out owning Icon Benefit Administrators Inc., Lubbock, a company that helps manage benefit plans with 70,000 members in 22 states.

In March, the Parker Group acquired American Administrative Group Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, an administrator that helps run plans with 80,000 members.

Thanks to the AAG and GBA deals, the Parker Group now may be one of the 10 biggest independent benefit plan administration firms in the United States, according to Parker Group Chief Executive Ted Parker.