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Nationwide Enters Pension Risk Transfer Annuity Market

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An arm of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company is getting into the business of selling jumbo group annuities to employers that want to shed defined benefit pension plan risk.

The Columbus, Ohio-based insurer has hired Paula Cole to run the company’s new pension risk transfer program.

(Related: The Game of Pension Risk Transfers Continues)

The program will be part of Nationwide’s Nationwide Corporate Solutions unit. Joe Sprague is the unit’s president.

Sprague said, in a comment included in the program launch announcement, that Nationwide is an especially good position to attract pension risk transfer business.

“Nationwide has a proven track record with managing risk, a strong and stable financial position, a diversified product portfolio, and deep experience working with corporate customers, plan sponsors and their participants,” Sprague said in the comment.

Cole, the head of Nationwide’s effort, previously was an executive at Legal & General Retirement America’s pension risk transfer business.

In other pension risk transfer market news, MetLife Inc. says a subsidiary, Metropolitan Tower Life Insurance Company, has completed a reinsurance-based pension risk transfer deal with Pension Insurance Corp., a London-based pension risk transfer company.

The value of the deal was the equivalent to about $350 million.

Graham Cox, head of MetLife’s retirement and income solutions unit, said in a comment included in the deal announcement that the transaction is MetLife’s first step into the U.K. longevity reinsurance market.

Cox estimated that U.K. pension plan sponsors have completed about $50 billion in risk transfer deals.

MetLife believes that it and other reinsurers could play a role in reinsuring that risk, Cox said.

Correction: An earlier version of this article described MetLife’s pension risk efforts incorrectly. The company is entering the longevity reinsurance market in the United Kingdom through Metropolitan Tower Life Insurance Company, which has its official state of domicile in Nebraska.

— Read New York Life’s CEO Still Likes the Retail Annuity Marketon ThinkAdvisor.

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