Excerpts: “Kemper Agrees To $2 Billion Takeover Led by Zurich Group.”

  • The Kemper Corporation, ending a yearlong effort to sell itself, said yesterday that it had agreed to be acquired by the Zurich Insurance Group and a group of American investors for $2 billion.
  • As an independent company, Kemper failed to produce the profit that investors hoped would result from the combination in the 1980’s of a large mutual fund business, insurance companies and securities brokers. None of its businesses was stellar in its field, however, and by the 90’s, Kemper was in trouble from outsized investments in junk bonds and real estate.
  • The Kemper acquisition also furthers Zurich’s goal of diversifying its business away from increasingly risky property and liability insurance, and toward life insurance, particularly life insurance policies and annuities that are sold as investments. Zurich will be a 51 percent owner of the two insurers, which collected more than $768 million of premiums last year and made $90 million.
  • The remaining 49 percent of the life insurance companies will be owned by Insurance Partners, Zurich’s partner in the Kemper purchase. Members of the investment group include Keystone Inc., formerly known as the Robert M. Bass Group, the Chase Manhattan Corporation and Centre Reinsurance Holdings, a subsidiary of Zurich.

Source: New York Times