1850’s British Life Insurance provider put up for sale in historic deal

One of the most recognisable names in British life insurance could be no more as it’s put up for sale, with the risk that it could be swallowed up by one of the giants of life insurance, and made to trade under the larger brand name.

MGM Advantage was formed in 1852 as Marine and General Mutual Life Assurance Society and has been providing customers in the UK with life insurance for 160 years. As one of the oldest life insurance providers in Britain, the company has seen a lot in the last century and will be missed if it does get swallowed up.

Evercore, an investment bank in the city are hoping to avoid such a scenario, and are looking for buyers who will be able to inject some much needed cash into the business to increase the strength of the current business, and to help it expand. Chris Evans, who is chief executive of the firm pointed out that they welcomed investment from a private equity firm, and with assets of £1.9million, and over 17,000 members the company could be a solid investment.

Despite the current company being mutual, like the building societies, it’s unlikely that a takeover would see a payout to members of the mutual insurance firm. Chief Exec Evans pointed out that the volume of annuity business MGM had been involved in had increased significantly in the last two years, and he saw the potential takeover as the best way to help continue that growth in the next few years.

“We are growing pretty fast and we want to be able to continue that growth,” added Evans. “But we have not come to a conclusion. The board is considering a whole range of different options.”

The insurance firm have been trying to find a buyer for a while but as of yet the right deal has not fallen into place, despite plenty of interest from other insurance companies, as well as individual financial buyers.

With 250 staff working in the head office in Worthing, the company originally offered life insurance to people who went out to work at sea, who didn’t drink alcohol, as water was seen to be dangerous. 160 years later a lot has changed, and insurance companies frequently see things differently now.

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