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Swiss Re Said to Weigh Sale of U.S. Life Insurance Assets

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Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss Re Ltd. is considering selling Aurora National Life Assurance Co. as it retreats from the U.S. life and health insurance market, people familiar with the matter said.

The world’s second-largest reinsurer is working with Barclays Plc to find buyers for Aurora National and some other U.S. assets, two people said, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. The sale could raise more than $400 million, one person said.

The deal would include about $5 billion in insurance assets, including corporate-owned and other life-insurance policies and annuities, said one person. Mark Bonthrone, a spokesman for Zurich-based Swiss Re, declined to comment, as did Brandon Ashcraft, a New York-based spokesman for Barclays.

“The management is actively working on sharpening the business portfolio,” Patrick Hasenboehler, a Zurich-based analyst with J. Safra Sarasin who has a buy rating on the shares, said in a note to investors. “We would welcome a potential transaction as it would speed up the process of improving the overall profitability and help to allocate more capital to the core non-life reinsurance business.”

Swiss Re rose 0.4 percent to 76.45 Swiss francs in Zurich at 10:02 a.m. valuing the company at 28.4 billion francs ($31 billion). The shares have gained 16 percent this year.

Aurora, based in Hartford, Connecticut, serviced more than 88,000 life and annuity policies at June 2012, and had over $3 billion in assets, according to its website. The company and the other assets were part of SRLC America Holding Corp., which Swiss Re sold in 2012 to London-based insurer Prudential Plc.

SRLC was the holding company for the U.S. division of Swiss Re’s Admin Re business, which bought life and health insurance companies that were no longer issuing new policies. The sale led to a $399 million loss for the business, according the Swiss Re’s annual report.

Swiss Re said in July that it was in talks to combine the rest of Admin Re with Phoenix Group Holdings.

To contact the reporters on this story: Matthew Monks in New York at mmonks1@bloomberg.net; Carolyn Bandel in Zurich at cbandel@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeffrey McCracken at jmccracken3@bloomberg.net

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