GE Plans Sale of Insurance Units

August 25, 2005

General Electric Co. likely will sell all of its remaining insurance operations, which include Kansas City-based GE Insurance Solutions, the local company’s chief executive told Bloomberg News.

Bloomberg reported the comments of Ron Pressman, head of GE Insurance Solutions, from an interview and during a Tuesday presentation to reporters.

Pressman said GE probably will “sell down to no involvement in the insurance sector” over time, Bloomberg reported. He said insurance businesses such as the medical malpractice insurer GE recently sold are better positioned if they aren’t “trapped” inside GE and “starved for capital,” Bloomberg said.

GE has been selling insurance properties including a subsidiary of its Kansas City-based GE Insurance Solutions in July. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. paid $825 million for Medical Protective Corp. of Fort Wayne, Ind., which provides professional liability insurance to doctors and dentists.

GE Insurance Solutions, formerly called Employers Reinsurance, employs 850 in the Kansas City area.

“Two to three years from now it probably will be a more robust (mergers and acquisitions) market,” Pressman told Bloomberg. “We’re patient. If something comes at us soon, great. If it takes a couple of years, so be it.”

Pressman said interest in insurance companies likely will increase as recent regulatory scrutiny subsides.

Richard Smith, chief operating officer of GE Insurance Solutions, has left the company to join Equifax Inc., the consumer credit rating company announced today. Smith will become chairman and chief executive officer of Equifax, succeeding Thomas F. Chapman, who will retire at the end of the year.

GE Reinsurance doesn’t plan to fill his position.

Copyright 2005, Kansas City Star

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