Equitable Sells Unit to Liverpool Victoria

December 26, 2000

Troubled British Mutual Insurer Equitable Life announced that it has sold its Permanent Insurance Unit to another U.K. mutual Liverpool Victoria for £150 million ($222 million).

The move comes as pressure rises on Equitable to continue to assure its financial solvency, following its failure to find a buyer. It also recognizes the possibility that the company will not be able to meet is obligations to policy holders, particularly the £1.5 billion ($2.2 billion) or more it must pay to guaranteed annuity holders.

Company Directors were even reportedly considering selling an oil painting by Gainsborough of company founder Sir Charles Gould, which could bring as much as £2 million ($2.95 million).

Last week Equitable’s president and seven non-executive directors bowed to public pressure, and announced their resignations. The Financial Services Authority has named a team of investigators, headed by Ronnie Baird, its own internal audit director, to look into the circumstances surrounding Equitable’s troubles.

L & V will continue to operate Permanent, which specializes in health protection coverage, through its existing network of independent financial advisors, and said there were no immediate plans to lay off staff.

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