The end of the line has come for Wells Fargo in the personal insurance business.
Capping a tumutluous year that began with the insurer being fined $185-million for opening accounts for customers without their permission, Wells Fargo announced that it would be slowing down commercial activities for its auto, homeowners, renters, and umbrella insurance products in preparation for a full exit from the business altogether.
"Wells Fargo continually reviews our product and service offerings to ensure they meet our customers' needs and allign with the company's long-term strategic goals," said Laurie Nordquist, head of Wells Fargo's Personal and Small Business Insurance division. "The decision to exit the personal insurance business reflects these practices, and we will wind down operations in a measured and responsible way for our existing customers."
According to early reports, the exit process should be complete by the end of the first quarter of 2018.
This move is part of a larger pattern of retrenchment for Wells Fargo, the third-largest U.S. lender, which has already exited several other insurance businesses. Those include crop insurance and commercial insurance, the latter of which was reportedly sold but has yet to be fully approved.