The parent company of Milwaukee-based Assurant Health says it will exit the health insurance market, with a wind-down for some business lines and a sale for others.

Assurant Health provides health insurance for about 8,000 people in Minnesota who purchase individual policies, according to the state Commerce Department, plus 66 people in group plans provided by small employers.

“Our decision to exit the health insurance market enables us to sharpen our focus on the housing and lifestyle markets,” said Alan Colberg, the president of Assurant Inc. in a Wednesday statement. “We remain strongly committed to ensuring a smooth and orderly transition for our customers, agents and employees.”

There will be no changes to policies currently in effect, the company said. Going forward, Assurant Health will not participate in open enrollment under the federal Affordable Care Act for 2016.

In Minnesota, the company sells policies under the names John Alden Life Insurance Co. and Time Insurance Co. Last week, the federal government released data showing that Assurant Health was one of five health insurers in Minnesota seeking rate increases in excess of 10 percent in the individual market.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Assurant Health has struggled financially since the introduction of major insurance market changes with the federal health law.

One of the company’s strengths was determining which customers are the best risk, the AP reported, but the health law bars insurers from turning away customers because of pre-existing health conditions.


Twitter: @chrissnowbeck