New York Life has agreed to acquire health insurer Cigna’s group life and disability operations in a transaction valued at approximately $6.3bn.

The acquisition is part of New York Life’s strategy to strengthen its business outside the core business of life insurance and annuities.

As part of the agreement, New York Life will absorb Cigna Group Insurance employees along with the staff who primarily support the acquired business.

New York Life said that Cigna’s group life and disability insurance business will function within its portfolio of strategic businesses.

Commenting on the deal, New York Life chairman and CEO Ted Mathas said: “This transaction increases the value we can deliver to our policy owners, strengthens our well-defined business model, and adds millions of customers to the New York Life family.

“Cigna’s group life and disability business enhances our portfolio of strategic businesses and is led by an experienced management team and high-quality workforce, who we look forward to welcoming to our company. We are fully committed to making this transition as seamless as possible for employees and clients alike.”

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Cigna president of strategy and solutions Matt Manders stated: “We are confident that clients and customers, including the many who also receive health and related benefits through Cigna, will continue to enjoy the high-quality benefits solutions and service for which this business is known.”

Subject to receipt of regulatory approvals, the transaction is expected to conclude in the third quarter of next year.