Sun Life Financial, the Toronto-based insurance company that is ramping up a new operation in Scarborough, has bought Assurant Inc.’s employee benefits business for $975 million, further expanding its footprint in Maine.

The deal includes Disability RMS, a local provider of turnkey disability risk management products and services, that operates under the Assurant umbrella. But the acquisition will not affect Disability RMS, which will continue to operate as a separate business, according to Sun Life spokeswoman Amanda Gallo.

Sun Life opened its Center for Healthy Work in Scarborough in April. It currently employs 60, but is hiring with a goal of employing 200 within the next few years. The company provides a range of disability insurance services including claims processing, but also patient-oriented services such as occupational therapy, nursing care and social work.

Sun Life conducted a competitive site-selection process and ultimately chose the Portland area for its center because of the city’s reputation in the disability insurance business and its proximity to Sun Life’s other offices in New England, said Dan Fishbein, president of Sun Life Financial U.S., in a February Press Herald interview. The company’s U.S. subsidiary employs roughly 2,400 people, the majority in its Wellesley, Massachusetts, office. It also has satellite offices in Windsor, Connecticut, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

“Portland is really the center of excellence for disability insurance in the United States,” Fishbein said.

The acquisition of Assurant’s employee benefits business, announced Thursday, will create the sixth-largest group benefits business in the United States, according to a release from Sun Life. It will increase the size and scale of the Sun Life U.S. Group Benefits business by more than 50% to approximately $4 billion, strengthening the company’s partnerships with brokers and private exchanges and supporting investments in technology and distribution.


“This combination will enable us to offer one of the broadest arrays of employee benefits products in the market to our customers,” said Fishbein in the release. “Our portfolio will include leading capabilities in the Group Life and Disability, Dental and Vision, Stop Loss and Voluntary categories. Our increased size will also support future investments as we continue to grow our U.S. business. We’re bringing together some of the top talent and capabilities in the industry.”

Disability RMS is leaving its location in Westbrook, which it has occupied for 10 years, and moving to South Portland in early 2016. The company employs about 350 people.


CORRECTION: This story was updated at 12:52 p.m. on Sept. 21, 2015, to delete a reference to an open house. The event is by invitation.

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