Barbados-based Sagicor Financial Company Ltd. is acquiring Toronto-based life insurer Ivari for $325 million, the firms announced on Thursday.
The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close in 2023.
Ivari, owned by Norwalk, Conn.-based Wilton Re Ltd., has $13.9 billion in assets under management (2021) and more than 250 employees. It provides individual life insurance and critical illness products to approximately 700,000 policy holders in the Canadian middle market, which commonly is defined as households with about $50,000 to $200,000 in annual income.
The transaction allows Sagicor to grow its individual insurance business and “transforms [the firm] into a leading North American insurer serving the middle market in addition to our market leadership in the Caribbean,” said Dodridge Miller, group president and CEO of Sagicor, in a release. Sagicor also operates in the U.S.
The sale of Ivari will allow Wilton Re to focus on its administrative reinsurance strategy and clients, a release from Wilton Re said.
Wilton Re has owned Ivari since 2015, when it bought the Transamerica Life Canada business from Aegon NV for $600 million, renaming and rebranding it later that year.
Since 2014, Wilton Re has been majority owned by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
Todd Lawrence, president and CEO of Ivari, said in a release that it was “pleased” to join Sagicor and that his firm would remain focused on growing in the “underserved” Canadian middle market: “Over the past several years, we have simplified our business model to focus on where we have scale and deep and meaningful relationships to provide exceptional service to our advisors and customers.”
In June 2020, Ivari sold its life insurance managing general agent business to Chicago-based Hub International Limited.
Sagicor is publicly listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. In 2014, Sagicor’s subsidiary Sagicor Jamaica acquired Royal Bank of Canada’s Jamaican banking operations, merging it with an existing banking subsidiary and renaming it Sagicor Bank.
Following the announced transaction, Fitch Ratings on Friday downgraded Ivari’s insurer financial strength rating to ‘A-‘ from ‘A’ and placed it on rating watch negative.
“The downgrade aligns Ivari’s rating more closely with Fitch’s view of its standalone credit quality, and the Negative Watch reflects the acquisition of Ivari by a weaker rated parent,” Fitch said.