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Manulife Closes Benesure Buy

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Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC - Free Report) has completed the acquisition of Benesure Canada Inc. The transaction was announced on October 24, 2012.

Benesure is among the leading third party administrator and distributors of Canadian life and disability creditor insurance solutions to the mortgage broker marketplace.

The transaction is a prudent step for Manulife since it will help its unit Manulife Affinity Markets to gain scale. It will also place Manulife as a leader in creditor insurance solution for mortgage brokers, currently earning premiums in excess of $65 million from more than 170,000 Benesure Canada Inc. clients.

The Canadian division contributes approximately 31% of the core earnings mix. In Canada, the company is launching new businesses in order to  to leverage its strong track record in the region. It expects to use its large in-force sales agency and generate growth from cross-selling.  

Recently Manulife Securities, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Manulife Financial, announced its intention to acquire Canada-based Wellington West Financial Services Inc. from its parent company, National Bank Financial Group.

Manulife is one of the dominant life insurers within its domestic Canadian market and possesses rapidly growing operations in the U.S. and several Asian countries. It has a diverse global presence with 75% of its earnings coming from outside Canada.  It has been doing business in the Asian market for over a century, which gives it a competitive advantage.  Moreover, changing demographics has fueled demand for insurance and wealth management products in these regions and the company will likely benefit from this due to its longstanding presence.

Manulife currently retains a Zacks #5 Rank (Strong Sell). We are maintaining our long-term Underperform recommendation on the shares on the back of a substantial exposure of the company to equity and interest rate risk.
Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Manulife Financial operates as a life insurance company and offers reinsurance services. The company functions as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. MetLife Inc. (MET - Free Report) is one of its biggest competitors.

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