Inviva is buying the life insurance subsidiary of Utica National Insurance Group, primarily a property and casualty carrier. Utica National Life Insurance Co. (UticaLIFE) has approximately 45,000 policies that will bring $250 million in invested assets and between $2 million and $4 million in annual income to Inviva.

"The acquisition of UticaLIFE will contribute to Inviva's goals on many fronts, helping to increase our operating scale, prove the power of our platform and immediately improve profitability," said Inviva CEO Laurence Greenberg.

The new block consists of 40,000 life insurance policies, most of which are universal life, and nearly 5,000 fixed annuity contracts.

Inviva is able to efficiently take on smaller blocks of business because of its operating system that allows automated processing and paperless administration of contracts. In September 2002, the company acquired the variable annuity business of Conseco. Although the deal did bring approximately $1.4 billion in variable annuity account value, it ended up costing the company $5 million in penalties and disgorgement from the Securities and Exchange Commission because of market-timing problems.

Utica National is unloading the life insurance unit because it never achieved scale to justify it as a stand-alone business, said J. Douglas Robinson, CEO of Utica National. "We started UticaLIFE in 1978 to give our property/casualty agents a 'one-stop' capability for personal lines," Robinson said. "While it proved a valuable resource for many of them, and it posted some good operating results over the years, UticaLIFE just was not able to achieve the scale of operation that would allow it to stand alone."

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