Executives at Assurant Inc. (NYSE:AIZ) say they think they’ll find a good buyer for the Assurant Employee Benefits unit.
Alan Colberg, Assurant’s president, answered several questions about the benefits unit Wednesday during a conference call with securities analysts.
The benefits operations “do have really strong and unique capabilities, and we’ve been investing heavily in them over the past several years now,” Colberg said.
The unit, based in Kansas City, Mo., sells employer-paid group life, group disability, group dental and group vision insurance. The unit also sells voluntary, employee-paid products, such as dental insurance and critical illness insurance, and individual prepaid dental plans.
Assurant also has a mortgage insurance business, a personal property protection insurance business, and Assurant Health, a major medical insurance business.
The benefits unit’s voluntary benefits and dental insurance operations should be attractive to a company that’s more interested in the benefits market, Colberg said.
Assurant announced last week that it has brought in an investment bank to help it try to sell both the benefits unit and Assurant Health.
Executives said the company would get out of the major medical market in 2016, even if it is unable to sell Assurant Health. Company executives have talked in the past about their frustration with the effects of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ changes in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) programs and rules.
Some observers interpreted the announcement to mean that the company was thinking of shutting down the benefits unit as well as the health unit.
Chris Pagano, the chief financial officer, said the company’s processes for handling the health unit and the benefits unit are very different.
For the health unit, “We remain focused on mitigating losses,” Pagano said.