Thursday, November 3, 2011

BB&T buys Calif. insurance company

In its second announced acquisition this week, BB&T Corp. said Thursday that its insurance arm would buy a California-based employee benefits consulting and administration firm.

The deal with Precept Group closed Tuesday and added 140 employees to BB&T's insurance unit.

"This acquisition positions us as a leader in this space at the most opportune time imaginable," insurance services chairman Wade Reece said in a statement.

Precept focuses on save money in human resources through greater efficiency and improving employee health at companies with between 50 and 50,000 employees. As health care costs rise and regulatations strengthen, this is ever more important, BB&T says.

Though Winston-Salem-based BB&T does not have any bank branches in California, it entered the insurance market there in 2008 when it bought San Diego-based UnionBanc Insurance Services. It is the sixth-largest insurance broker in the U.S.

On Tuesday, the bank announced it would buy BankAtlantic, based in South Florida, gaining 78 branches and $3.3 billion in deposits.