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New York Approves China Oceanwide-Genworth Deal

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Genworth Financial Inc. announced Monday that it has cleared a major obstacle toward selling itself to China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co. Ltd.

The Richmond, Virginia-based insurer said it has received approval from the New York State Department of Financial Services to transfer control of a New York-based subsidiary, Genworth Life Insurance Company of New York, to China Oceanwide.

Now that New York state regulators have approved the deal, “the transaction has received all required U.S. insurance regulatory approvals,” Genworth said in the approval announcement.

(Related: Genworth Gets Major Regulatory Approvals for China Oceanwide Deal)

Genworth also announced Friday that Virginia, the state of domicile for two subsidiaries, Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Company and Jamestown Life Insurance Company, had approved a revised version of the deal.

Virginia regulators had already approved an earlier version of the deal.

Getting approval from the New York state regulators was particularly noteworthy, because New York state regulators have been quicker to object to insurance deals than regulators in some other states.

In the fall, for example, New York state regulators objected to efforts by CVS Health Corp. to acquire the New York-based operations of Aetna Inc. New York regulators made CVS agree to a list of commitments before giving the CVS-Aetna deal their blessing.

(Related: CVS-Aetna Will (Probably) Survive New York State Friction: Corporate Lawyers)

Genworth said New York regulators have required it and China Oceanwide to enter into a letter agreement with the New York Department of Financial Services.

The letter agreement lists requirements related to cybersecurity matters and the protection of customer personally identifiable information, Genworth said.

At press time, documents related to the New York approval were not available on the New York department website.

Genworth said it and China Oceanwide had already entered into similar agreements when they sought approval for the deal from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). CFIUS is a U.S. national security deal review agency. It approved the China Oceanwide-Genworth deal in June.

(Related: Genworth Clears Major Obstacle to Completing China Oceanwide Deal)

Genworth was a major player in the U.S. life and annuity markets. It continues to sell some long-term care insurance (LTCI). It’s still a major issuer of mortgage insurance in the United States, Canada and Australia, and it still has large amounts of life, annuity and LTCI business on its books.

Although all U.S. insurance regulators have approved the deal, Genworth and China Oceanwide still need approvals from regulators in China and Canada.

The companies also need an approval from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

The current deal completion deadline is Jan. 31. The companies have extended the deadline seven times in the past.

— Read Some LTCI Issuers Count More on Future Rate Hikes Than Others: S&P, on ThinkAdvisor.

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