PHILADELPHIA — Lincoln National Life Insurance Co. said it has agreed to settle a class action by providing benefits to policyholders who purchased universal life and participating whole life insurance policies between from 1981 through 1998.

The settlement, which would cover about 431,000 policies nationwide, is subject to court approval and would settle all universal life class actions pending against Lincoln Life.

Jon Boscia, president and chief executive officer of Lincoln National Corp., Lincoln Life’s parent, said the company believes the agreement is “fair and equitable.”

The company’s fourth-quarter earnings will include a $28.3 million after-tax charge related to the settlement and a $28 million after-tax gain for amending a prior acquisition agreement. These two transactions would virtually offset each other, the company said.

Lincoln National, which operates under the marketing name of Lincoln Financial Group, has $103 billion of assets and $6.8 billion of annual consolidated revenues.

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