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March 11, 2011updated 15 Mar 2017 6:10pm

Symetra goes for growth in US group life market

Nailing its colours to the mast, Symetra Life Insurance Company has declared its intention to "significantly" expand its presence in the US group life insurance market

By LII editorial

Nailing its colours to the mast, Symetra Life Insurance Company has declared its intention to “significantly” expand its presence in the US group life insurance market.

Symetra intends to drive long-term growth in the group life market by expanding in-house underwriting, claims and actuarial expertise, and investing in field sales support.

“We see terrific growth potential for group life insurance in the underserved mid-sized employer market,” said Symetra CEO Tom Marra.

“This business is a natural extension of the employee benefits products we already offer, and it builds on our individual life insurance capability.

“With a renewed focus on group life, we want to create an even stronger employee benefits franchise and further diversify our product mix.”

Symetra, which ranks among the top 40 US life insurers, is also active in the employee benefits, annuities and individual life insurance sectors.

Symetra was also ranked as the market leader in medical stop-loss insurance by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s back in 2009.

Medical stop-loss insurance is a form of reinsurance for self-insured employers that limits the amount they will have to pay for each employee’s health care or total company health care expenses.

Established in 1957 as Safeco Life and Investments (SLI), Symetra made history of a sort in January 2010 when it listed on the New York Stock Exchange to become the first US life insurers to execute an initial public offer since (IPO) 2004.

The Bellevue, Washington state-headquartered insurer raised new capital of $248m in the IPO.

A significant aspect of the IPO was the decision by the companies which led the investor group that acquired SLI in 2004 – Berkshire Hathaway and US general insurer and reinsurer White Mountains Insurance Group – to retain their stakes.

In the first nine months of 2010, Symetra reported a net profit of $138.7m, up 44.2% compared with the first nine months of 2009, while premium income reflected a marginal 0.5% increase to $354.7m.

Total revenue increased by 4% to $1.184bn.

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