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BB&T to Buy Life Insurer Crump Group

Continuing its string of insurance agency deals, BB&T Corp. announced Friday that it is buying the life and property and casualty insurance divisions of Crump Group Inc. for about $570 million in cash.

Crump, based in Roseland, N.J., is the nation's largest independent wholesale distributor of life insurance and among the largest providers of wholesale commercial insurance. Its life insurance arm has 23 offices nationwide and relationships with more than 100 life insurance companies while its property and casualty division offers a full range of services in areas ranging from transportation to professional liability to workers' compensation.

The agreement does not include Crump's retirement services business.

Wade Reece, the chairman and chief executive of BB&T Insurance, said in a news release that the deal for Crump "is an opportunity for BB&T to become a significant and strategic player in the high-growth, high-margin life insurance distribution business and expand our property and casualty business."

The deal for Crump would be BB&T's fourth insurance-related acquisition since September. In the fourth quarter, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based BB&T said that income from its insurance operation rose 21% from the prior quarter to $254 million.

BB&T Insurance is the sixth-largest insurance brokerage in the country, operating nearly 120 retail and three wholesale agencies.

The agreement with Crump is expected to close next quarter. John Howard, Crump Group's president and CEO, is expected to join BB&T Insurance in a senior leadership post, reporting to Reece.

In the fall BB&T bought Precept Group, a California employee-benefits consulting firm; Liberty Benefit Services in San Jose, Calif.; and Atlantic Risk Management Corp. in Columbia, Md.

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