Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sagicor Jamaica to acquire Blue Cross portfolio

Published: Tuesday July 29, 2008

Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited has confirmed that it is acquiring the health portfolio of Blue Cross of Jamaica.

However, while the parties have an agreement in principle, the deal still has to face the scrutiny of regulators.

"We have signed an agreement," Sagicor Jamaica president Richard Byles told The Gleaner on Monday. "It is subject to regulatory approval and we have to do our due diligence."

Hours after, Sagicor Jamaica, which is a publicly listed company, issued a press release announcing the deal.

Health-insurance monopoly

Sagicor, with $33.76 billion of assets, is nearly 17 times as large as Blue Cross, whose assets are estimated at $2 billion.

The acquisition, if approved by the Financial Services Commission, will give Sagicor Jamaica a near lock on the health-insurance market, leaving only Guardian Life as rival.

Sagicor Jamaica last month laid claim to 55 per cent of the health-insurance market.

Cost-efficient service

Blue Cross has been on the market for some time. At one point, National Commercial Bank was set to buy the insurance company, but that deal was scuttled after regulators knocked it down.

More recently, Jamaica National was said to be in talks with Blue Cross.

Byles, in the joint release on Monday, said Sagicor would be able to deliver a more cost-efficient service to Blue Cross clients.

Dr Henry Lowe, chairman of Blue Cross, said the merger would give clients access to a wider range of products and services.

Source: Jamaica Gleaner

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