Royal Bank of Canada to sell Liberty Life to Athene Holding for $628.1 million

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), the largest financial institution in Canada yesterday said that it will sell its US Liberty Life Insurance, the US life insurance business of RBC Insurance unit to Bermuda-based Athene Holding, for $628.1 million.

The sale price is less than what RBC paid for the life insurance business a decade ago having acquired Liberty for $650 million.

RBC, which has its headquarters in Montreal and Toronto said that it expects the transaction will result in a loss of approximately $115 on a Canadian accounting basis and a loss of $405 million under US accounting rules.

RBC Insurance provides a wide range of life, health, travel, home, auto and reinsurance products as well as creditor insurance services to more than five million clients in Canada, the US and internationally. 

These products and services are offered through a wide variety of distribution channels, including the telephone, retail insurance branches, independent brokers, travel agents, a proprietary sales force and the Internet. 

Hamilton, Bermuda-based Athene Life Re is a reinsurance company that provides fixed annuity reinsurance solutions to life and annuity insurance companies in Bermuda. It offers its reinsurance products directly, as well as through brokers and reinsurance intermediaries.

Post closing, Liberty will reinsure its life and health insurance business to Birmingham, Alabama-based Protective Life Insurance Company and a portion of its annuities to Athene Life Re Ltd., a Bermuda based subsidiary of Athene Holding Ltd.

RBC said that the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, and is expected to close in early 2011.