ACE Ltd. has agreed to pay about $425 million in cash for the New York Life Insurance Company life insurance businesses in Hong Kong and Korea.

ACE, Zurich (NYSE:ACE), already has property-casualty operations in north Asia, and it now wants to use the acquisition of the two businesses from New York Life, New York, to build life operations there, ACE says.

ACE has started life companies from scratch in China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The New York Life operations in Hong Kong and Korea have about $2.1 billion assets, 2,400 career agents and $330 million in annual revenue, ACE says.

“These two life insurance companies are small, solid agency operations that have been managed conservatively by New York Life, a venerable and highly professional company,” ACE Chairman Evan Greenberg says in a statement. “They provide a good foundation on which to build our life operations in these two territories as part of our overall life insurance strategy in the region.”

ACE will adjust the final purchase price to reflect the adjusted book value of the life companies at the time of closing, ACE says.

ACE plans to make the deal using cash on hand and hopes to complete it by March 31, 2011.

Greenberg is the son of Maurice Greenberg, the former chairman of American International Group Inc., New York (NYSE:AIG), which is in the process of selling large life operations in Asia.