Chief financial officers believe that merger and acquisition activity among life insurers is on its way up, according to a report from Tillinghast-Towers Perrin. Such activity has trended downward as formerly hungry acquirers lost their appetites during the bear market.

However, this very reluctance has spurred an increased interest, said John Nigh, principal and M&A practice leader at Tillinghast-Towers Perrin. "No longer able to delay action, more companies are now willing to sell as they are running out of time to strengthen their balance sheets in order to command a higher price. With more realistic price expectations, we anticipate that more transactions will be occurring."

According to the report, 71% of CFOs said it was either "highly likely" or "possible" that their firms would pick up a new block of business in the next year; 49% said the same about acquiring an entire business. These figures are up 17% and 12%, respectively, from last year.

North America and Asia were the most popular locations for such acquisitions, accounting for 75%, while Latin America was the least popular.

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