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Athene Launch Alum to Create Another Annuity Business

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What You Need to Know

  • Sunset Life was founded in 1937.
  • A limited partnership formed by Investcorp will help a subsidiary pay Kansas City Life up to about $6.5 million for Sunset Life.
  • The new CEO says he wants Sunset Life to help customers manage their wealth, savings and retirement.

Investcorp is jumping into the fixed annuity asset management market with help from an executive who was part of the effort to launch Athene Life Re.

Cordillera Holdings — a new partnership controlled by Investcorp affiliates — announced Tuesday that a subsidiary, Bona Holdings, has acquired Sunset Life Insurance Co. of America from Kansas Life Insurance Co.

Bona agreed to pay up to about $6.5 million for Sunset Life, according to an order approving the deal, by Chlora Lindley-Myers, director of the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance, that was posted on the department’s website.

Investcorp plans to manage Sunset Life’s investments, and it has brought in Nathan Gemmiti to serve as Sunset Life’s CEO.

Gemmiti indicated in an announcement about the Sunset Life deal that he expects the company to be an active issuer of annuities, and he said that Investcorp’s investment experience will be helpful.

“This partnership is critical to our ability to design and build products that protect and manage the lifecycle of our customers’ wealth, savings and retirement,” Gemmiti said.

Sunset Life

Sunset Life was incorporated as a stock company in Washington state in 1937. The company’s parent, American Underwriters Corp., dissolved it in 1960, by distributing shares of the company to American Underwriters shareholders, according to a Missouri insurance company exam report.

Kansas City Life acquired the Sunset Life shares through a tender offer in 1974. A Sunset Life sister company, Sunset Financial Services, markets Kansas City Life’s variable products and performs investment services for policyholders.

Sunset Life had $36 million in assets in 2020, according to the company’s latest annual statement.

Investcorp and Cordillera

Investcorp is an asset manager that was founded in Manama, Bahrain, in1982. Today, it has a large operation based in New York.

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The company reported $125 million in net income for the fiscal year ending June 30 on $463 million in operating income, $2.4 billion in assets and $38 billion in assets under management.

Investcorp formed Cordillera to make insurance-related investments.

Investcorp will not be an affiliate of Sunset Life, under Missouri law, but Investcorp affiliates are the limited partners in Cordillera Holdings, and Investcorp is the parent entity of the parties that will manage Sunset Life’s investment portfolio, Lindley-Myers noted in her order.

Investcorp’s role means the company will be in a position to have substantial influence over Sunset Life, Lindley-Myers said.

Nathan Gemmiti

Gemmiti spent four years as general counsel at Scottish Re Group Ltd., then became general counsel for Northstar Financial Services and Northstar Cos.

While at Northstar Cos., Gemmiti helped Apollo Global Management start and expand Athene, which is now a major annuity issuer.

Gemmiti then became chief operating officer and general counsel at Knighthead Annuity & Life Assurance company, an insurer based in the Cayman Islands that operates in the fixed annuity distribution and reinsurance markets.

Gemmiti was the founding chairman of the Cayman International Reinsurance Companies Association.

Pictured: Nathan Gemmiti (Photo: Sunset Life)