Prudential set to buy Swiss Re's US arm

  • @BawdenTom

The insurance giant Prudential is set to get a little bigger after striking a deal to buy Swiss Re's US life insurance business for $621m (£400m) in cash.

The UK's biggest insurance company said the purchase of SRLC America Holding Corp through its Jackson National Life Insurance subsidiary in the US continues its practice of growing through acquisitions.

Under the deal, Prudential will acquire £6.7bn of assets and about 1.5 million policies, adding £100m to its bottom line in its first year of ownership.

"This acquisition is in line with our strategy and is a great opportunity to increase the scale ofour life business," said Jackson National Life's chief executive, Mike Wells.

"It helps to diversify Jackson's earnings by increasing the amount of income we generate from underwriting activities, thereby enhancing the quality of our earnings and our ability to remit more cash to the group," he added.

SRLC represents the bulk of Swiss Re's Admin Re business in the US, which was set up to buy closed books of insurance policies from other companies that had decided to exit the industry. Swiss Re believed it could run these operations more profitably than the previous owners.

However, Swiss Re appears to have decided it can make more money elsewhere, and plans to use the proceeds from the sale to invest in potentially more profitable areas, such as its main reinsurance operation.

Swiss Re will take a $860m charge against its second-quarter profits on the disposal because the SLRC businesses book value is higher than yesterday's sale price.