The Harleysville And Nationwide Insurance Companies say they have reached a merger agreement. Under the deal, Harleysville policyholders become nationwide policyholders, but the Harleysville brand name will continue, the Harleysville operation will stay where it is, and the local workforce of about 900 people will probably expand. Harleysville President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Browne says, “We are proud of our 96-year history and the longstanding success we and our independent agencies have enjoyed. We remain committed to our trusted partners and the independent agency system.” He says the combined company will be well-positioned for growth. Nationwide is acquiring all of the publicly-held shares of Harleysville common stock for $60 per share in cash. That’s about $1.6 billion. The deal still needs approval from stockholders and regulators.