Assurant Inc. says it plans to spend $400 million to repurchase up to 7% of its outstanding common shares.[@@]

Assurant, New York, the parent of a health insurance company based in Milwaukee and an employee benefits company based in Kansas City, Mo., says it already has spent $400 million to buy back common stock since August 2004.

The company’s board recently voted to set aside another $400 million for a new share repurchase program.

The company now has about 133 million shares of common stock on the market. In recent weeks, Assurant shares have been selling for more than $40 each.