Report: Wells Fargo to put crop-insurance business up for auction

Wells Fargo & Co. may be shedding its crop insurance business, Reuters said last week.

The banking company is putting wholly owned subsidiary Rural Community Insurance Services (RCIS) up for auction, and a sale could bring in more than $1 billion, sources familiar with the situation told the news service.

Potential buyers include Bermuda-based PartnerRe Ltd., Axis Capital Holdings Ltd., Muenchener Rueckversicherungs Gesellschaft in Muenchen AG and Allianz SE, sources told Reuters.

"Wells Fargo regularly evaluates the strengths and strategic fit for each of its businesses," Wells Fargo spokesman Josh Dunn said. "As our model continues to evolve, we are more focused on increasing cross sell and growing the distribution side of the insurance business.

 "As a result, we are considering strategic options for Rural Community Insurance Services that may include a sale of the crop insurance business, excluding the Wells Fargo Insurance Crop Agency," Dunn said.

RCIS is one of the biggest crop insurance providers in the nation, offering insurance to protect America's farmers and ranchers against natural disasters and severe weather, such as drought, hail and floods. RCIS has about 1,300 team members around the nation. Based in Anoka, Minnesota, the business has regional offices in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Fresno, California.

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