NU Online News Service, Feb. 17, 2005, 3:53 p.m. EST

A Stamford, Conn., insurer has agreed to take over a block of employer-sponsored group health plans administered by Insurers Administrative Corp., Phoenix.[@@]

The insurer, Independence Holding Company, says Insurers Administrative has been managing the $50 million block since 1998.

IHC wants to reinsure the block, then assume the block and issue new group health policies of its own.

IHC is not releasing the name of the current carrier, but it says the current carrier will continue issuing new business related to the block until an IHC subsidiary, Standard Security Life, gets permission to assume the existing policies and issue new policies.

In related news, IHC says its Strategic Health Associates affiliate:

- Is looking into the possibility of writing dental insurance.

- Wants to sell short-term health insurance to parents of graduating college students.

- May invest in a telemarketing venture that may help another IHC affiliate, Madison National Life, sell group health coverage to employers.