NU Online News Service, Dec. 23, 9:23 a.m. – Ceres Group Inc., Cleveland, has agreed to sell its Pyramid Life Insurance Company subsidiary to Universal American Financial Corp., Rye Brook, N.Y., for $56 million in cash.

Pyramid Life, founded in 1913, has about $100 million in assets and a network of 1,100 career agents in 29 sales offices. It sells Medicare supplement insurance, long-term care insurance and other products aimed at older customers in 26 states.

Ceres, which has been selling major medical insurance along with insurance products aimed at older consumers, says it wants to use the cash to strengthen the capital of its Continental General Insurance Company subsidiary and repay some of its bank debt.

Ceres now wants to focus on its senior brokerage operations, its electronic marketing operations and medical insurance operations that happen to be profitable, the company says.

Universal American, a company that focuses on selling insurance to older consumers and long-term care insurance administration services, says it wants to cut costs by consolidating Pyramid Life’s administrative operations but maintaining Pyramid Life’s sales organization and marketing identity.