National Guardian Life and Insurance Capital Group Set Partnership and Launch BrightBenefits

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MADISON, Wis.—National Guardian Life Insurance Company (NGL), a Madison-based life insurer with a heritage dating back to 1909, and New York-based Insurance Capital Group (ICG), the leading strategic investor in the mutual insurance industry, have launched a new strategic partnership. NGL and ICG, through its Federal Life Group affiliate, have jointly developed and launched a national dental and vision insurance business called BrightBenefits, which will be led by insurance industry veteran and former Davis Vision executive Danny Bentley, according to an announcement this week.

BrightBenefits policies will be issued by Commercial Travelers Insurance Company, an A.M. Best A- (Excellent) rated affiliate of NGL, in which Federal Life will make a significant equity investment, subject to receiving regulatory approval, the announcement noted.

“This new strategic partnership with ICG allows NGL to diversify its investments into new markets without losing its focus on being a leading provider of preneed insurance for customers nationwide. ICG brings exceptional talent and additional capital to this partnership that will allow growth in new and exciting ways,” NGL president and chief executive officer Knut A. Olson said in the announcement.

Matt Popoli, founder and chief executive of Insurance Capital Group and a director of Federal Life, said the firm was honored to have been selected by NGL as its strategic partner. He added, “We are extremely excited about the launch of BrightBenefits and the broader strategic partnership with NGL. We are confident that BrightBenefits, led by its talented management team, will develop into one of the nation’s leading vision and dental platforms.”

Bentley, the new president, said the goal for BrightBenefits is to be a trusted partner and leading provider of employee benefits products and services that help employers and their employees protect their families. BrightBenefits will offer both employer- and employee-paid dental and vision insurance and will look to expand the product offerings as the company grows.

Bentley most recently served as president of Davis Vision. He began his career at Protective Life where he created and pioneered the voluntary, ancillary benefits products industry by introducing the nation’s first voluntary dental product.

The closing of the investment by Federal Life is subject to certain regulatory approvals, including the approval by the New York Department of Financial Services and the Wisconsin Office of the Insurance Commissioner, according to the announcement.