New York Life to Acquire Majority of John Hancock’s Participating Whole Life Insurance; Sell its Retirement Plan Services Business to Hancock

December 30, 2014

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. 

On December 23, Willkie client New York Life announced that it had 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 all of the liabilities and retrocede 40% of them back to Hancock. The policies have a face amount of more than $25 billion.

Under a separate agreement announced on the same day, New York Life Investment Management disclosed it had signed an agreement to sell its Retirement Plan Services business (RPS) to John Hancock. RPS provides retirement plan solutions and administrative, custody, consulting and investment services to U.S. corporate and union retirement plans. Hancock has announced that it will merge RPS with John Hancock Retirement Plan Services. The combined business will cover 55,000 retirement plans across the United States.

Both transactions are expected to close in the first half of 2015, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The Willkie team for the reinsurance matter included Alexander Dye, Elizabeth Bannigan, David Drewes, Christopher Peters, Robin Spigel, Matthew Stern, Timothy DeKeyser, Yevgeniy Markov and Bhavna Agnihotri. The Willkie team for the RPS sale included Alexander Dye, Christopher Petito, Eugene Chang, Christopher Peters, Jonathan Konoff, Peter Allman, Mike Brandt, Amir Ghavi, Robert Larimore, Zelda Ferguson, Alexis Anzelone, Tara Thieme, Joshua Parker, Douglas Hollins and Tyler Warner.