Aviva, the UK's largest insurer, has confirmed that it is in talks to buy AmerUs Group in order to expand into key growth segments of the major global long-term savings markets, the company said.

US insurer AmerUs is valued at around $2.3 billion, according to Reuters, and Aviva said that if a transaction is agreed it will be funded from a combination of internal resources, external debt and a market placing of Aviva shares. The firm said that any equity placing will be accompanied by an update on current trading.

Aviva said in a statement: These discussions are consistent with Aviva’s stated strategy of pursuing value creating acquisition opportunities in key growth segments of the major global long term savings markets.

Aviva has been interested in expanding into the US for some time, and attempted to merge with UK rival Prudential earlier in the year. Prudential has rapidly-growing operations in Asia and the US but rebuffed Aviva’s offer.