Toronto-based Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX: SLF) announced on Wednesday an agreement with New York City-based Assurant, Inc. to acquire the U.S. firm’s Assurant Employee Benefits business for a net investment of US$975 million.

The transaction will create the sixth largest group benefits business in the U.S., with the combined business having one of the broadest product portfolios in the industry, Sun Life said in a statement.

“The acquisition of the Assurant Employee Benefits business is directly on strategy, accelerating the growth of our U.S. group benefits business and expanding the scope of our benefits business in North America,” said Dean Connor, president and CDO of Sun Life Financial.

According to Sun Life, the transaction will add significant new capabilities to its U.S. group benefits business, including a strong dental business with the second largest proprietary provider network in the U.S. The transaction also includes a group life and disability business, and adds voluntary products and capabilities, vision products and client technology. Also included is the disability RMS business, which is the leader in partnering with other insurers to offer disability products, Sun Life said.

The transaction will also boost the size and scale of the Sun Life U.S. group benefits business, growing business in-force by more than 50% to approximately US$4 billion, strengthening the company’s partnerships with brokers and private exchanges and supporting investments in technology and distribution.

Upon closing, Sun Life Financial U.S. will provide protection through approximately 64,000 employers in small, medium and large workplaces. The combined U.S. group benefits business will operate in multiple sites, including Sun Life Financial’s U.S. headquarters in Wellesley, Mass. and Assurant Employee Benefits’ main office in Kansas City, Mo.