NU Online News Service, Nov. 2, 2004, 2:22 p.m. EST

Members of 2 Lincoln, Neb., mutual life insurance companies have approved the companies’ plans to merge.[@@]

Executives at the companies, Security Mutual Life Nebraska Holding Company and Lincoln Insurance Group Inc., say completing the proposed “merger of equals” will be good for Lincoln.

“Consolidation continues to reshape our industry,” Lincoln Insurance President Tom Potter, says in a statement about the deal. “By combining 2 strong, locally based holding companies and their predecessor companies?we have chosen to build a significant financial services organization that will remain here in Nebraska.”

Security Mutual and Lincoln Insurance both sell a variety of life insurance, disability insurance and annuity products.

The combined company, which would be known as Assurity Security Group Inc., will have about $2 billion in assets.

Nebraska insurance regulators approved the deal in August, and more than 95% of the company members who voted at the 2 special member meetings held to consider the deal cast their votes in favor of a merger, Security Mutual and Lincoln Insurance report.

Security Mutual and Lincoln Insurance now plan to consummate the merger Jan. 1, 2005.

The merger agreement calls for Assurity Security to let the main insurance company subsidiaries of Security Mutual and Lincoln Mutual keep their current offices and continue to operate as separate companies for at least 3 years. Half of the Assurity Security board members will come from Security Mutual and half from Lincoln Insurance.

Security Mutual President Tom Henning will be the president of Assurity Security, and Potter will be Assurity Security’s chairman. Potter plans to give up his day-to-day management role after Security Mutual and Lincoln Insurance officially merge.