(Bloomberg) -- Sun Life Financial Inc., Canada’s third- largest life insurer, agreed to buy an employee-benefits business from Assurant Inc. to expand in the U.S.

Assurant will receive $940 million in the sale, the New York-based company said in a statement Wednesday. Sun Life said in a separate statement that its net investment will be $975 million including capital required to support the operation.

Sun Life Chief Executive Officer Dean Connor is expanding beyond Canada as Assurant turns its focus to property-casualty coverage, including policies that protect consumer electronics and homes.Sun Life purchased Redmond, Washington-based asset manager Prime Advisors this year.

“The acquisition of the Assurant employee-benefits business is directly on strategy, accelerating the growth of our U.S. group-benefits business,” Connor said in the statement.

Sun Life expects the deal to add 8 Canadian cents a share to 2016 earnings, rising to 17 cents a share by 2019, according to the statement, excluding transaction and integration costs. The transaction may be completed by the end of next year’s first quarter, Sun Life said. The 1,700 employees at the Assurant unit will be offered positions with Toronto-based Sun Life, Assurant said in a statement.

The acquisition is the largest in more than a decade for Sun Life, which bought rival Clarica LifeInsurance Co. in 2002 and two U.S.-based Liberty Financial units in 2001. Gaining Assurant’s assets increases Sun Life’s U.S group-benefits unit by 50 percent to about $4 billion in premiums.

Slowing Economy

Sun Life has been adding assets south of the border as the Canadian economy slows. It relies on the U.S. for about half of its revenue, according to Bloomberg data compiled from company financial documents.

Sun Life said its Assurant acquisition cost includes the purchase of subsidiaries, commission and operating capital.

As a result of the transaction, Assurant is increasing its quarterly dividend to 50 cents a share and announced a stock- buyback program for as much as $750 million of its common shares.

“Assurant continues to execute our plan to strengthen our market-leading positions in the housing and lifestyle sectors,” CEO Alan Colberg in the company’s statement.

Morgan Stanley and law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP advised Sun Life on the deal. Barclays Plc was financial adviser to Assurant, while Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP was legal adviser.

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