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The Return Of The M&A

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Life insurance industry chief financial officers say their companies are looking for deals.

Consultants in the Stamford, Conn., office of Towers Perrin Forster & Crosby Inc. have reported that finding in a summary of results from a recent Web-based survey of 24 life company CFOs.

Capital constraints have all but shut down mergers and acquisitions over the past 12 months, and only 8% of the Towers Perrin survey participants said their companies had acquired or started acquiring a block of business.

Only 30% said they had acquired or started to acquire another insurer.

But 71% of the CFOs said they are interested in acquiring a block of business, and half said they may be seeking to buy a company, the Towers Perrin consultants report.

“If the economy stabilizes, we are optimistic that there will be a significant increase in M&A activity,” says John Nigh, a Towers Perrin managing principal.

About 79% of the CFOs said individual life businesses are attractive right now, and 25% said group life businesses are good acquisition targets.

The Towers Perrin consultants also found that one-third of the survey participants are at companies that want to sell businesses, and 23% said most or all of their companies’ recent deals have been duds.