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Safeco Puts Life Unit On The Block

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NU Online News Service, Sept. 29, 2003, 5:58 p.m. EDT – Safeco Corp., Seattle, has hired Goldman, Sachs & Company Inc., New York, to help sell its life and investment business unit.

The life unit generated $237 million in operating earnings in 2002 on $2 billion in revenue. It accounted for about 28% of Safeco’s revenue.

Safeco says it wants to use the proceeds from the life unit sale to reward shareholders and pay off some of its debt.

In related news, Safeco says it recently discovered that its expense level is higher than the expense level at top-performing property-casualty insurers. The company hopes to cut at least $75 million in expenses by the end of 2004 and eliminate at least 500 jobs outside of the life unit.