Private Equity Firm Sees Opportunities in Insurance

Private equity firm Lightyear Capital is looking for acquisitions in sectors including insurance, banks, processing companies and asset management, CEO Donald Marron said Monday.

Lightyear has stayed on the sidelines for the last year, although it recently struck a deal to buy three of the U.S. independent broker-dealer units of Dutch bancassurer ING Group.

“Coming out of this crisis there are a lot of opportunities, but you have to look very carefully,” Marron told the Reuters Global Finance Summit in New York.

Marron, who founded Lightyear in 2000, said a typical deal Lightyear might pursue would be $50 million to $250 million in terms of the equity cheque written. Of that, Lightyear would contribute about half the equity.
He said there are multiple opportunities for investing in insurance.

Last year Lightyear was in talks with mortgage insurer Triad Guaranty to form a new mortgage insurer, but those discussions ended in the summer of 2008.

“We’ve looked very hard at mortgage insurance and we’ve not done anything yet; it’s a very complex issue and we will continue to look,” Marron said.

(Reporting by Megan Davies and Paritosh Bansal; editing by John Wallace)