Bermuda-based reinsurer Athene Holding has signed an agreement to acquire Liberty Life Insurance, a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada, for $628m.

Liberty Life will reinsure its life and health business to Alabama-based Protective Life Insurance Company and a portion of its annuities to Athene Life Re, a Bermuda based subsidiary of Athene Holding.

Athene Holding chairman and CEO Jim Belardi said, the acquisition of Liberty Life is a major step in growing the company’s fixed annuity business. Liberty Life has a $2.8bn block of fixed annuities, insurance licenses in 49 states and a substantial footprint in the US.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in early 2011.