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US life insurer Symetra in talks to sell itself

Symetra
Source: Symetra

Symetra Financial, a U.S. life insurance company with a market capitalization of around $2.9 billion, has been exploring the possibility of selling itself in recent months, according to people familiar with the matter.

Shares of the company initially jumped more than 9 percent. Later, in extended-hours trading, the stock traded flat down 0.07 percent. (Click here to track its shares.)

Symetra has been working with investment bankers and has spoken to several industry peers that have expressed interest in the Bellevue, Washington-based company, the people said this week. A deal to sell the company is not imminent, the people said.

Read MoreSymetra misses Street 2Q forecasts

The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. A Symetra spokeswoman declined to comment.

Dealmaking in the insurance sector has intensified as years of record-low interest rates have taken their toll on the margins of U.S. insurance companies and hurt their profits, making the industry more open to consolidation.