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New York Life, the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire through reinsurance 60 percent of John Hancock Financial’s closed block comprised primarily of participating whole life insurance. The block of 1.3 million policies was closed in connection with John Hancock’s demutualization in 2000, and includes more than $11 billion in liabilities. Through a reinsurance arrangement, New York Life will assume $7 billion of those liabilities. The policies have a face amount of more than $25 billion. John Hancock is the U.S. division of Manulife Financial Corporation.

New York Life said that the reinsurance agreement with John Hancock was part of its strategy to grow its core book of individual life insurance business. New York Life’s NYL Investors, LLC unit, which oversees the company’s $185 billion general account, will manage $10.5 billion in new assets. John Hancock will continue to administer the closed block, paying claims and dividends.

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