Protective Life Corp., Birmingham, Ala., is rethinking whether it wants government capital.

The insurer said in November that it would acquire the troubled Bonifay Holding Co. Inc. in Florida so that it could qualify to participate in the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program.

But Johnny Johns, Protective Life's chairman and CEO, said on its earnings conference call Wednesday that it had not heard from the Treasury about its application for Tarp funds and that it is unsure whether it would take the money now if its application were approved.

"We do not know whether or not we, or indeed any life insurance company, will be permitted to participate in that program. And we are not sure if we are permitted, whether or not, we will participate in it," Johns said on the call. "There are an array of restrictions that are kind of emerging around that and, if we are invited in, we will just have to see what those restrictions are and see whether or not we think on balance it's in the best interests of our shareholder to say participate."

Johns said Protective Life's application to acquire the $241.6 million-asset Bonifay has received regulatory approval. However, the deal is contingent on the insurer getting Tarp funds.

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