Resolution begins new acquisition spree in US

  • @Thompj

The insurance entrepreneur Clive Cowdery, who has spent billions consolidating the UK life insurance industry, has embarked on a mission to do the same in the US with a $600m (£395m) acquisition there.

His Delaware-listed Resolution Life Holdings beat off interest from private equity firms to snap up the 75-year-old insurer Lincoln Benefit Life. It sounds like the first deal of many: Allstate, the firm which sold Lincoln, said that “[Resolution’s] strategy is to acquire a number of life insurance businesses in the US and focus on the needs of existing customers over the long run, rather than actively seeking new sales.”

Mr Cowdery founded Resolution in the UK in 2008 to merge smaller life insurers and make them more efficient as part of one larger firm. The UK-listed company bought Friends Provident in a £1.86bn takeover, and the bulk of Axa UK’s life insurance businesses and Bupa Health Assurance.

Despite the similar name, Resolution Life is a separate company from the UK Resolution.

“Resolution Life has a long-term view of the market and is committed to retaining in-force customers and providing excellent customer experiences and support,” Allstate said.

Mr Cowdery’s first Resolution business began in 2004 with the purchase of Royal & Sun Alliance’s life business. A year later it led a reverse takeover of the listed group Britannic.

In 2008, Mr Cowdery sold the company to Hugh Osmond’s Pearl Group for about £5bn.