Guardian Life Insurance Co., the $31.7 billion-asset mutual life insurer, says it plans to buy Berkshire Life Insurance Co. of Pittsfield, Mass.

The deal, announced this month by New York-based Guardian Life, would buttress the company's presence in the disability income market and let it expand into other markets by leveraging Berkshire's product development capability, said Dennis Manning, executive vice president for individual markets and group pensions at Guardian.

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