Guard Insurance sold to Berkshire Hathaway unit for $221 million

A Nebraska unit of Berkshire Hathaway is buying the parent company of Guard Insurance Group for $221 million.

Berkshire Hathaway’s National Indemnity Co. is buying Clal U.S. Holdings, owner of Guard Insurance Group, which is based in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., according to a Clal Insurance Enterprises Holdings’ report to the Israeli stock exchange.

Guard Insurance employs about 280 people, including about 225 at its corporate offices in Wilkes-Barre. The company sells property-casualty coverage to small and mid-sized businesses. It has field offices in California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Virginia.

The deal includes all of Clal’s U.S. holdings. Clal Insurance Enterprise Holdings is one of Israel’s two largest insurers.

As part of the deal, Clal will receive a release of a $48 million guarantee for securing a bank loan, according to the report.

The deal, which requires regulatory approval, should be completed by Dec. 15.

Guard Insurance was in discussions for a sale to Employers Holdings, based in Reno, Nev., for $312 million, but talks ended in September 2011.

Guard Insurance was founded in 1983 by Judd and Susan Shoval, who retired, but remain on the company’s board of directors.