Mergers and acquisitions may pick up for companies that are seeking to unload blocks of long-term care insurance, said Patrick Fels, a banker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
“It’s an area where it’s just ripe for M&A activity if things could just fall into place,” Fels said Monday during a panel on dealmaking at the American Council of Life Insurers’ annual conference in Chicago. While there are more companies seeking to exit long-term care than to enter, more buyers are emerging, he said.
Nassau Reinsurance Group Holdings LP, which was formed this year with backing from private-equity firm Golden Gate Capital, is among firms looking to take on obligations from other insurers. Nassau announced last week that it was acquiring units from Universal American Corp. HC2 Holdings Inc., led by Philip Falcone, said in April that it agreed to buy a long-term care business from American Financial Group Inc.
Universal Chief Executive Officer Richard Barasch said in an Oct. 8 statement that “while this transaction will generate a loss, it allows us to exit the long-term care business, as well as other non-strategic business lines, and will free up additional capital.”
Long-term care policies pay for home health aides or residence in nursing homes. The industry has been burned by higher-than-expected costs and low returns on investment portfolios. Genworth Financial Inc., which still offers LTC policies, has declined 38 percent this year in New York trading after a 45 percent plunge in 2014.
Fels didn’t identify companies that he considers possible buyers or sellers of blocks of long-term care coverage.