Meiji Yasuda to buy StanCorp for US$5b, joining spate of Japanese insurers expanding abroad

TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) - Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co. agreed to buy US insurer StanCorp Financial Group Inc. for about US$5 billion (S$6.84 billion), joining Japanese insurers that are expanding abroad to counter the shrinking domestic market.

Meiji Yasuda will pay US$115 a share for the US insurer, a 49.9 per cent premium on its one-month weighted-average share price, according to a statement.

Japanese insurers are looking for ways to spread risks and increase revenue overseas as an aging population saps demand for policies and natural disasters lead to higher payouts. Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. agreed to buy HCC Insurance Holdings Inc. for about US$7.5 billion last month. Dai-Ichi Life Insurance Co.'s paid about US$5.5 billion for Protective Life Corp. this year.

StanCorp was founded more than 100 years ago and sells a range of products that companies offer to their employees, like long-term disability and life insurance. It also offers annuities.

Meiji Yasuda said in its statement that the purchase of the US group, one of the biggest transactions ever by a Japanese life insurance company, is part of its bid to expand profits.