NU Online News Service, Jan. 14, 2004, 1:41 p.m. EST – Jefferson-Pilot Corp., Greensboro, N.C., says it has agreed to spend about $200 million to acquire the Atlanta-based U.S. group life, disability and dental business of The Canada Life Assurance Company from Great-West Lifeco Inc., Winnipeg, through a reinsurance arrangement.[@@]

Jefferson-Pilot hopes to complete the deal by March 31.

Jefferson-Pilot plans to fold the Canada Life group insurance business into its own Omaha, Neb.-based Benefit Partners unit. The combined company should rank seventh U.S. group life sales and fifth in U.S. short-term disability insurance sales, Jefferson-Pilot says.

Robert Bates, president of Jefferson Pilot Benefit Partners, will be responsible for combining the Canada Life operations with the Benefit Partners operations.

Great-West Lifeco President William McCallum says his company is selling the U.S. group insurance unit so that it can invest more capital in its health care and retirement services businesses.