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Reinsurance deal helps Conseco raise cash

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Conseco Inc. will raise $45 million and free up capital reserves by bringing in a reinsurance company to coinsure a block of life insurance policies, the Carmel-based company announced Friday morning.

Minnesota-based Wilton Reassurance Co. will assume half the risk for a block of 237,000 policies held by Conseco’s Bankers Life unit, based in Chicago. The deal will cost Conseco about $2.5 million every three months, beginning this quarter, in pre-tax profits.

In its most recent quarter, the company had $83 million of pre-tax profits.

But Conseco continues new efforts to boost its cash levels. The company had less than $86 million in cash on Sept. 30 and expected that to decline to $73 million by year’s end .

The company raised $78 million in a stock sale to New York hedge fund Paulson & Co. this month, and then filed Thursday to sell another $230 million in shares.

Conseco also sold $176.5 million in new bonds this month.

Conseco used some of these proceeds to buy back $176.5 million in older bonds, which could be converted to cash in September 2010. Conseco still faces a cash call of $116.5 million on the remainder of those bonds.

This is Conseco’s second reinsurance transaction with Wilton Re. In September, Wilton Re paid $57.5 million to assume 100-percent reinsurance of a block of life insurance policies held by Conseco’s Carmel-based subsidiary, Conseco Insurance Group.

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