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Insurers Look to Dump 'Non-Core' Businesses

Sun Life's decision follows several moves by insurers to take non-core businesses off of their balance sheets.
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) --

Sun Life Financial's

(SLF) - Get Sun Life Financial Inc. Report

recent decision to sell its reinsurance business to

Berkshire Hathaway

(BRK.A) - Get Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Class A Report

is just the latest of several moves by insurers to take businesses they deem "non-core" off their balance sheets.

"We are seeing all these small non-core businesses being traded around," said Joel Levine, senior vice president of life and health insurance at


(MCO) - Get Moody's Corporation Report

. "Companies are sitting on large capital positions and they have seen risk in the capital markets level go up."

Some recent transactions include


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decision to sell its interest in its Japanese joint venture and the

New York Life Insurance

sale of its Hong Kong and South Korean operations to



for $425 million.

Levine says its likely that many more insurance companies will be trimming down the fat to raise captial for share buybacks or make acquisitions to extend business in 2011.

"These bite sized transactions make a lot of sense from a buyers stand point they are willing to deploy capital, and from a sellers standpoint it makes sense to rationalize to get rid of these businesses," Levine said.

--Written by Maria Woehr in New York.

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