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11/23/2004
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IBM Buys Insurance BPO

The acquisition of Liberty Insurance Services Corp. will provide IBM with a beachhead in the life-insurance claims-processing business.

IBM is getting into the life-insurance business. The claims-processing part of it, that is. In a deal disclosed Tuesday, the company said it will acquire Liberty Insurance Services Corp., the business-process-outsourcing division of RBC Insurance Services Inc.

Under the deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, about 700 Liberty Insurance staffers will transfer to IBM. Liberty Insurance's operations will remain based in Greenville, S.C., IBM says. Liberty Insurance also maintains a facility in Kansas City, Mo.

The deal also calls for IBM to provide a number of business and technology services to RBC Insurance.

The move is expected to give IBM a big footprint in the life-insurance and annuity claims-processing business, which IBM says represent a $2.5 billion market worldwide.

IBM has been moving to widen its portfolio of business-process-outsourcing services. On Monday, it disclosed a deal under which it will provide engineering services to Honeywell. IBM's acquisition of Liberty Insurance is expected to close Dec. 31.

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