NU Online News Service, Nov. 21, 11:00 a.m. EST – MetLife Inc., New York, says it will buy TIAA-CREF’s long term care insurance business. The transaction is expected to close in 2004, subject to regulatory approval.

The decision to sell has to do with the competitive environment, says TIAA-CREF spokeswoman Stephanie Cohen Glass.

“There are nearly 100 carriers that offer LTC products, but the top 10 have more than 85% of the new premium business, and there’s been a lot of consolidation in the business.

“Size and efficiency have emerged as competitive differentiators. We didn’t feel we could be competitive, and it was better to exit now than to continue to operate in that environment.”

Although TIAA-CREF, New York, will no longer manufacture an LTC insurance product, it will sell nonproprietary LTC products in the future, Glass says.

C. Robert Henrikson, president of MetLife’s U.S. Insurance and Financial Services businesses, says the acquisition will “further strengthen the company’s market position, particularly in the individual long term care insurance area. MetLife has the expertise and experience to ensure a smooth transition for TIAA-CREF customers.”

The transaction will have no material impact on MetLife’s 2003 or 2004 net income and operating earnings, the company says. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.