Longs Drug Stores Corp. is in the process of buying a life insurance company to use in its Medicare Part D prescription drug program.

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Susan Voss has approved a request by Longs, Walnut Creek, Calif., to acquire Nutmeg Life Insurance Company from a unit of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Hartford, for $4.5 million and rename the company Accendo Insurance Company.

Voss also has approved Longs’ request to move the domicile of Nutmeg Life to Utah, from Iowa.

Longs, a large drug store chain with more than $5 billion in annual revenue, wants to use Nutmeg Life to offer Longs Medicare Part D programs that now are written by Longs’ RxAmerica L.L.C. subsidiary.

Nutmeg Life has licenses to operate in 46 states and about $9.8 million in surplus, but it does not have any policies in force, officials say.

Longs hopes to get Nutmeg Life licensed in the other 4 states and begin using the company to write drug coverage starting in 2009, officials say.

A copy of the Iowa order approving the Nutmeg acquisition is on the Web