Royal Bank Agrees to Buy Liberty Insurance Businesses

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Royal Bank of Canada yesterday agreed to acquire Liberty Life Insurance Co. and Liberty Insurance Services Corp., the insurance businesses of Liberty Corp., Greenville, SC, for about $650 million.

Liberty Life offers life and health insurance through a 625-agent network and directly to consumers through telemarketing and direct mail. Liberty Insurance Services provides third-party administration services, including underwriting, billing and collection, claims processing and investment management services.

The Liberty insurance businesses had 1999 revenues of about $435 million. Liberty Life has about 660,000 policies that were sold through direct channels and another 1.7 million sold through agents.

Royal Bank, which has extensive U.S. retail operations, said it plans to capitalize on cross-selling and other opportunities to expand the acquired businesses in the U.S.

The acquisition is subject to the approval of regulators in the United States and Canada and shareholders of Liberty Corp.
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