A company controlled by Robert Devlin, the former chairman of American General Corp., has agreed to acquire some funeral insurance operations from Assurant Inc.[@@]

Devlin’s company, Forethought Financial Services Inc., Batesville, Ind., has agreed to acquire Assurant’s U.S. independent funeral insurance sales business through a reinsurance arrangement.

Forethought and Assurant, New York, are not giving the price of the deal, but they say they expect transferring the independent funeral insurance business to Forethought will take about a year. Assurant says it will get cash payments from Forethought for 10 years.

Assurant will be keeping one major funeral insurance operation, American Memorial Life Insurance Company, which sells funeral insurance through Service Corp. International, Houston, a major funeral home chain. Assurant also will be keeping its Canadian funeral insurance business, according to Forethought and Assurant.

The agents who now sell “preneed” policies for Assurant’s preneed life insurance subsidiaries can continue to write coverage on Assurant life subsidiary paper during a 12-month transition period, and Forethought will reinsure those agents’ policies while the agents are getting Forethought contracts and licenses, Assurant says.

In addition to keeping the Service Corp. International preneed business, Assurant will be keeping its in-force preneed policies and all of its preneed life insurance subsidiaries.

Alan Feagin, the president of the Assurant Preneed unit, will supervise the unit during the transition. He plans to retire in 2006, Assurant says.