NU Online News Service, July 14, 2004, 1:31 p.m. EDT

Merrill Lynch Life Insurance Company, Princeton, N.J., has hired Liberty Insurance Services Corp., Greenville, S.C., to administer a block of in-force life policies.[@@]

Merrill Lynch Life is a unit of Merrill Lynch & Company Inc., New York.

Liberty, a unit of the Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto, hopes to take over administration of the policies in 2005.

The contract includes day-to-day management as well as complete back-office administration services for variable life, variable universal life and interest-sensitive whole life policies. The services will include claims processing, billing and collections, contract-owner support services, records management, cash management services and technology support, Liberty says.

The value of the contract and other terms were not immediately available.