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RGA To Acquire ING Re Group Life Business

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Reinsurance Group of America Inc. has agreed to take over a Dutch company’s U.S. and Canadian group life, accident and health reinsurance business.

RGA, Chesterfield, Mo., (NYSE:RGA) is getting the business from ReliaStar Life Insurance Company, Minneapolis, a unit of ING Groep N.V., Amsterdam.

The acquisition, which will be structured as an indemnity coinsurance agreement, is set to take effect Jan. 1, 2010.

RGA is not saying how much it will pay for the ReliaStar business, but RGA President A. Greig Woodring says it will use its own cash to pay for the deal and expects to deploy about “$115 million of capital to support the business.”

RGA and ING hope to complete the deal by March 31, 2010.

The deal “gives us a far more substantial presence in the North American group reinsurance market,” Woodring says.

The deal also gives RGA “a highly regarded team in Minneapolis,” and that team will stay in place, RGA says.

Tom McInerney, chief executive of the ING Insurance Americas operation, says ING made the deal to simplify its structure and focus U.S. insurance operations on retirement services, life insurance and rollover annuities.

“Although ING Reinsurance is not part of ING’s core businesses in the U.S., it is a solid, well-run, and client-focused business that will complement a company that considers reinsurance its core business,” McInerney says.

The deal will have little effect on ING’s earnings, but it should improve the debt/equity ratio at ING Insurance by about 0.6 percentage points, ING says.

After completing the deal, ING will still have a run-off reinsurance portfolio that it has had since 2002, the company says. ING’s ReliaStar unit also will be keeping its direct group insurance business.

Andrew Kligerman, a securities analyst in the New York office of UBS Investment Research, says RGA will be getting about 90 staffers from ReliaStar.

“Since ‘group’ business can be non-renewed/re-priced (unlike, say, in-force individual term life policies), the risk of deal mis-pricing is mitigated,” Kligerman writes in a comment about the deal.


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