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Life Health > Health Insurance

Aon Sells Insurance Companies

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Aon’s insurance brokerage is selling its 2 insurance companies for close to $3 billion to ACE Limited and Munich Re Group in an all-cash deal.

Aon, Chicago, said it will sell Combined Insurance Company of America, Glenview, Ill., for $2.4 billion in cash to ACE, Bermuda. Combined Insurance underwrites and distributes specialty individual accident and supplemental health insurance.

Munich Re will purchase Sterling Life Insurance Company, Bellingham, Wash., for $352 million. Sterling provides health care benefits to Americans over the age of 50. The company also has a strong presence in the Medicare program.

Aon announced in August of last year that it would sell off its underwriting interests.

“Through these divestitures, we have further simplified our global organization and successfully executed our strategy to exit the lower margin and more capital-intensive insurance underwriting business,” said Greg Case, president and chief executive officer of Aon.

Aon said it plans to extract a one-time cash dividend of $325 million from Combined Insurance before the close of the deal. It expects total after-tax cash proceeds and dividends to be around $2.6 billion.

The proceeds of the transactions will go to increase Aon’s stock repurchase program to $2.6 billion, bringing the total amount currently available for repurchase to about $2.78 billion, the company said.

ACE expects its part of the deal to be completed by the end of the second quarter 2008. It would be financed with $1.65 billion in case on hand and $750 million in notes, the company says.

At Munich Re, Peter Choueiri, a member of the firm’s International Health Board, said, “Sterling gives us an important platform with an excellent reputation to gain access to the fast-growing senior markets in the U.S. and to leverage our existing business.”

The transaction is to be paid out of its own funds and is expected to close during the first quarter of next year, said Munich Re, Germany.


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