The current owners of Scottish Re Group Ltd., a life and annuity reinsurer that suspended sales of new reinsurance in 2008, say they are starting the process of shutting down the company’s operations.

The owners say they have already started a voluntary wind up of the operations in Hamilton, Bermuda, where Scottish Re has its headquarters, and in the Cayman Islands, where the company is incorporated.

The owners have also brought in Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., an arm of Stifel, to help find a buyer for one of the company’s major subsidiaries, Scottish Annuity & Life Insurance Company (Cayman) Ltd. “Qualified parties interested in participating in this process should contact Joseph Beebe or Peter Houston of KBW by email at SALIC@kbw.com,” Scottish Re’s owners say in a press release.

(Related: Scottish Re Gets Capital Infusion)

Scottish Re was founded in 1998, when the U.S. annuity market was strong, and it once appeared to be on track to be a major, lasting player in the life and annuity reinsurance market.

In 2006, when Scottish Re organized a conference for investors, the company was running its main North American unit, Scottish Re (U.S.) Inc., from offices in Charlotte, North Carolina. It also had nine other offices, including one in Singapore and one in Dubai.

Scottish Re had made major reinsurance deals, including the 2003 acquisition of the ERC Life business from General Electric Co. and the 2004 acquisition of the U.S. life reinsurance operations of ING Groep N.V.

The company reported that it 225 employees and 76 contractors in North America.

Scottish Re had a 16% share of the U.S. life reinsurance business for 2005 life insurance business, and it ranked second in the mortality risk market after Swiss Re.

The company was reinsuring traditional fixed annuities with a value of $2.7 billion, $550 million in indexed annuities, and $190 million in variable annuities.

The company eventually ran into trouble, in part because some reinsurance arrangements had performed worse than the company had expected, according to statements the company made at the time.

In 2007, affiliates of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and Cerberus Capital Management L.P. acquired control over Scottish Re. Since then, the managers of Scottish Re have made a series of deals to sell operations to organizations such as Pacific LifeCorp, and to terminate reinsurance and investment arrangements.

The company still has an office in Charlotte and 37 employees.

Gregg Klingenberg is the chief executive officer. Klingenberg started working for Scottish Re, as the company’s general counsel, in 2006.

— Read Reinsurer Gets Swap Terminated on ThinkAdvisor.