A newly minted Des Moines-based life insurer will build upon an existing base of business and a seasoned workforce to grow its market share.  

Accordia Life, a subsidiary of Bermuda-based Global Atlantic Financial Group Ltd., formally begins operations today in downtown Des Moines.

The majority of Accordia’s 200 employees were hired from Aviva USA’s former life insurance business. That business segment was spun off by Athene Holding Ltd. immediately after it acquired Aviva USA’s annuity and life insurance operations in December 2013.

“The idea for this organization is a focused, innovation-oriented company, with a plan to build innovative products for our distribution partners and our policyholders going forward,” said Accordia President Mike Miller. Accordia Life www.accordia.com is based on the 11th floor of the Davis Brown Tower, 215 10th St.

“A big piece (of the acquisition) was the in-force block of life insurance business that Aviva had written over the past several decades,” Miller said. Some of those policies extend back to Central Life Assurance and American Mutual, which merged in 1994 to become AmerUs Life Insurance Co., which demutualized and was renamed AmerUs Group in 2000. Aviva plc bought AmerUs in 2008, and Aviva USA was subsequently sold to Athene last year.

Accordia’s senior vice president of sales, Steve Hinrichs, will lead the company’s distribution efforts through a national network of career and independent life insurance marketing organizations. He has more than 30 years of industry experience.

Global Atlantic was founded in 2004 at Goldman Sachs and separated as an independent company in April 2013. It entered the life and annuity market by acquiring Commonwealth Annuity and Life Insurance Co., formerly Allmerica Financial, in 2005. In January 2014, shortly after acquiring the Aviva USA life insurance business from Athene, Global Atlantic acquired Forethought Financial Group Inc., which gave it a presence in the annuity and pre-need insurance markets. The combined organization has more than $30 billion in assets and 750 employees in 10 offices.

Accordia will focus primarily on sales of universal indexed life insurance products through its career marketing network and its independent agent network. “So we will be building on what we were successful with in the past,” Miller said.

Miller will be based in Des Moines and report to Accordia CEO Nicholas Von Moltke at Global Atlantic’s New York office. Miller spent much of his early career in Topeka, Kansas, where he worked for Amvestors Financial Corp. prior to its acquisition by AmerUs Group. He and his family moved to Greater Des Moines in 2008 following Aviva’s acquisition of AmerUs.

Hiring primarily former Aviva employees was a purposeful move to maintain a deep bench of experience that Accordia could build its business around, Miller said. “That said, we have had some additional hires and we do have a number of positions open right now that we’re recruiting for,” he said. “And we would look to continue to grow the work force here from talent in the Des Moines area as we grow the busines over the coming years.”