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SIMSBURY, Conn., Jan. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- ITT Hartford Life Insurance Companies and Grupo Icatu S.A. have reached an agreement in principle to form a joint venture that will sell life insurance, pensions and related business in Brazil.

Under the arrangement, ITT Hartford Life would acquire interests in Grupo Icatu's affiliated companies, Icatu Seguros S.A. and Companhia Brasileria de Capitalizacao, to provide group and individual single premium annuities, traditional life insurance coverages, specialty health and accident insurance policies, private pension plans, and capitalization contracts.

The venture is expected to be finalized within six months, pending a definitive agreement and approvals by Brazilian authorities and the companies' boards of directors. Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

Grupo Icatu's insurance subsidiary, Icatu Seguros, is the 12th largest life insurer and the third largest private pension company in Brazil.

This will be ITT Hartford Life's second business venture in South America. In 1994, the company established a partnership with Cenit Seguros S.A. to sell life insurance and private pension management in Argentina. That venture is now Argentina's sixth largest provider of private pension plans and a leader in individual life insurance sales.

"We have been looking for other ventures with dynamic and creative partners to broaden our international business in South America and we believe Brazil and Grupo Icatu represent one of the best opportunities available," said ITT Hartford Life President and Chief Operating Officer Lon A. Smith. "With 160 million residents -- the world's fifth largest population -- Brazil is a significant market and a natural next step for our international expansion."

Bruce Gardner, ITT Hartford Life's director of international market development, noted that Brazil has reduced inflation to under 20 percent and will register about a four percent real growth in its 1995 gross domestic product (GDP). "Additionally, with changes in tax laws and anticipated changes in the social security system, the Brazilian government is intent on expanding the availability of private insurance and pension products to provide additional financial security for citizens of the country."

According to Kati Almeida Braga, head of the holding company, Grupo Icatu, "our association with a firm of the importance and reputation of ITT Hartford brings great benefits in technology transfer and products, in addition to recognition of development of Icatu Seguros as a major company in the life and pension market. The 186 years of tradition of ITT Hartford will strengthen the product and marketing technology of our operations."

A member company of Grupo Icatu, Icatu Seguros was the first Brazilian insurer to specialize in benefits. Since its founding in 1992, it has grown to be the third largest company issuing private pensions, according to the data of Fenaseg (the National Insurance Federation). It had 1995 sales of $155 million (U.S.) and sells through more than 700 independent brokers in nine branch offices.

One of the fastest-growing major life insurance groups for the past five years, ITT Hartford Life is the United States' top seller of individual variable annuities and a market leader in group disability insurance and group pension products. Headquartered in Simsbury, Conn., ITT Hartford Life is the nation's 11th largest life insurance group, based on 1994 assets of $43.3 billion.

ITT Hartford Life is a subsidiary of ITT Hartford Group (NYSE: HIG), a leading provider of insurance and financial services with 1994 revenues of $11.2 billion. ITT Hartford consistently receives top financial ratings and is widely recognized for financial stability and strength. In 1994, its North American property-casualty operation wrote more than $5.6 billion in premium, making it the country's seventh largest property-casualty insurer. ITT Hartford's member companies offer a wide range of commercial property and casualty insurance, automobile, homeowners and life coverages, annuities and employee benefit and asset management plans. ITT Hartford was established in 1810, making it one of the nation's oldest insurers.
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/CONTACT: Joe Fazzino, Office: 860-843-8180, Home: 860-489-0055 or Bob Nolan, Office: 860-843-8820 or Home: 860-673-7674, both of ITT Hartford Life, or Sergio Machado of Icatu Seguros, Office: 55-11-256-6044, Home: 55-11-914-8974/


CO: ITT Hartford Life Insurance Co.; Grupo Icatu ST: Connecticut IN: INS FIN SU:

SB -- NETU008 -- 5331 01/23/96 12:18 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 23, 1996

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