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Wesfarmers managing director Richard Goyder said the sale followed approaches by a number of parties that were interested in the underwriting business.
Wesfarmers had spent a lot of money in recent years getting the Australian and New Zealand insurance underwriting business into much better shape.
There was inherent volatility in the insurance business because of catastrophic events like earthquakes in New Zealand, and Cyclone Yasi. The sale does not include the insurance division's broking operations in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, and its Australian and New Zealand premium funding businesses which will remain part of Wesfarmers.
Mr Goyder said Wesfarmers had not yet decided what to do with the proceeds from the sale. The sale is subject to regulatory approval, which is expected to take several months.
The acquisition comprises Wesfarmers' underwriting companies trading under the WFI and Lumley Insurance brands, and a year distribution agreement with Coles. IAG expects the acquisition will lift earnings per share by a modest amount in the first full year of ownership and by at least five per cent in the second year.
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