National Australia Bank (NAB) is reportedly planning sale of its life insurance unit, which is valued nearly $800m (£488m), in a bid to increase its commitment to its domestic and New Zealand franchises.

People known with the matter were quoted by Reuters as saying that NAB intends to test potential buyer interest for the life insurance unit, before finalising and launching a formal sale.

Insurers from Japan, Canada, Hong Kong and Australia are believed to express interest to acquire the business, the source added.

NAB’s life insurance business was part of its acquisition of the wealth management division MLC from Lend Lease in 2000 for about $4bn.

The life insurance operations represents around 20% of MLC, according to the news agency.

Under the leadership of new CEO Andrew Thorburn, NAB is focused on the disposal of non core business assets, however, there are no plans to sell its wealth management business.