Ohio National Financial Services has acquired 50% stake in Centauro Vida e Previdencia, a Brazilian company, to form a joint venture (JV) to boost its presence in the country's growing life insurance marketplace.

Ohio National chairman, president and CEO Gary T "Doc" Huffman said: "There has been double digit life insurance premium growth in every major Latin American market over the past five years.

"We believe that an expansion into Latin America will provide us opportunity for even faster growth and is one of our key corporate objectives."

Centauro maintains a strong presence in Brazil, mainly through the state-mandatory automobile liability insurance and DPVAT claims administration program and leveraging the JV, the company will now be able to expand its life insurance product line.

The current transaction represents the third expansion for Ohio National beyond the boundary of the US. Currently, the company manages a Chilean subsidiary as well as ONSV Peru.

Ohio National vice chairman and chief investment officer Christopher A Carlson said: "The Latin American market represents a growing middle class with new and additional needs for insurance products."

Ohio National sells various types of insurance and financial products through more than 50,000 representatives across 47 states except Alaska, Hawaii and New Yorkin the US.