Aegon to sell auto unit; American Financial paying $162 million for Worldwide


Aegon USA Inc., the Baltimore unit of Dutch insurance giant Aegon NV, said yesterday that it signed a definitive agreement to sell auto insurer Worldwide Insurance Co. and its property and casualty subsidiaries.

Aegon USA said it will sell the company to Cincinnati-based American Financial Group for $162 million.

The sale is expected to close at the end of March, and it is subject to regulatory approvals.

Aegon USA decided to sell Worldwide because it didn't fit with the company's product line. St. Louis-based Worldwide sells auto and property and casualty insurance over the telephone and through the mail.

"It was not a fit strategically with us," said Bart Herbert Jr., chief marketing officer at Aegon USA. "We focus on life and health insurance and pension. We chose to stay with our strategic focus."

Aegon USA employs about 11,000 people nationwide, including 800 in Baltimore. The sale does not affect Baltimore employees. Worldwide, which has about 300 employees, operates in St. Louis and Frazer, Pa.

Aegon USA acquired Worldwide when it bought Louisville, Ky.-based Providian Corp.'s insurance business 18 months ago in one of the largest insurance deals of its kind. Aegon paid about $3.5 billion for Providian's insurance operations. The Providian transaction increased Aegon's assets by about 25 percent.

Aegon USA operates Monumental Life Insurance Co. and Special Markets Group in Baltimore. Monumental primarily sells life insurance through an agency force, while Special Markets sells supplemental life and health insurance through associations, affinity groups and banks.

The company's parent, Aegon N.V., has $147 billion in assets.

Pub Date: 1/13/99

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