NU Online News Service, Jan. 8, 4:24 p.m. – John Hancock Financial Services Inc., Boston, says it has agreed to acquire the fixed universal life insurance business of Allmerica Financial Corp., Worcester, Mass., through a reinsurance arrangement with a value of about $90 million.

The companies hope to complete the deal by March 31.

Hancock has agreed to administer the policies and assume liability for claims in exchange for the reserves backing the policies and the premiums that will be paid on the policies in the future.

The Allmerica block includes 48,000 policies with $650 million in total account balances.

Hancock has 62,000 fixed universal life policies with $3.1 billion account value.

Allmerica announced in September 2002 that it was considering “strategic alternatives” for its life insurance and annuity operations because of the operations’ disappointing performance. The company reported today that the Hancock universal life deal is part of a four-step program to increase its statutory capital.