NU Online News Service, July 30, 2004, 5:55 p.m. EDT

Security Mutual Life Nebraska Holding Company and a neighbor, Lincoln Insurance Group Inc., have agreed to merge.[@@]

Both companies sell a variety life insurance, disability insurance and annuity products, and both are based in Lincoln, Neb.

The combined company would have about $2 billion in assets.

Nebraska insurance regulators are expressing support for the merger, and Security Mutual and Lincoln Insurance say they hope to complete the deal by Jan. 1, 2005.

The companies are describing the transaction as a “merger of equals” rather than an acquisition of one company by the other. The merger agreement calls for the combined company, which would be known as Assurity Security Group Inc., to let the main insurance company subsidiaries of Security Mutual and Lincoln Mutual keep their current offices and operate as separate companies. Half of the Assurity Security board members would come from Security Mutual and half from Lincoln Insurance.

Security Mutual President Tom Henning would be the president of Assurity Security, and Lincoln Insurance President Tom Potter would be the company’s chairman.