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Insurance Carrier M&A Stays Hot into Summer

Protective Life, which was a buyer last year, is linked to a Japanese insurer as a sale target.

Heavy M&A activity in the insurance industry continues this month as companies look to increase their growth prospects through acquisition and others look to reduce legacy costs.

Dai-ichi Life Insurance, the second-largest life insurer in Japan, is in talks to acquire Birmingham, Ala.-based Protective Life, according to a Bloomberg report. The deal follows Japanese companies including Orix and Nippon Life looking to U.S. insurers as acquisition targets due to the rapid aging of the Japanese market.

Protective itself is no stranger to the M&A process, having recently purchased U.S. life insurance assets from AXA last year. The company has made more than 40 acquisitions over the past 40 years, it says on its website.

Meanwhile, Endurance Specialty Holdings says it will begin a hostile takeover bid for Aspen Insurance Holdings, according to a New York Times report.

A May report from Grant Thornton, a UK-based consultancy, said that "the United States remains the most active region globally" for insurance M&A activity.

"Increasing solvency and corporate governance requirements are likely to cause mid-sized and smaller underwriting businesses difficulty," the company also wrote. "Large insurers possess the resources and capabilities to handle these changes."

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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