Royal & Sun Alliance is understood to be evaluating its life book with a view to selling the business.
The composite insurer is also understood to be considering taking a similar step with its general insurance arm.
Investment banks have been invited by RSA to comment on the value of the life book as a separate business to the general side.
Industry sources say it is unlikely that one bidder would be attracted to both businesses. R&SA is looking to appoint separate advisers for the life and general businesses.
If the life book is sold off, industry speculation surrounds the future of RSA's general business, with German general insurance giant Allianz is thought by industry insiders to be a likely candidate.
R&SA revealed group losses of £476m from £386m for 2000. It
blames this on storm losses of £180m and e-commerce investment of £100m.
IFAs account for 90 per cent of its life and pension business. Life and pension sales are up by 12.5 per cent to £352m from £308m.
UK communications director Paul Atkinson says: “It is not unusual to have discussions with a number of advisers about a number of issues but it is not our practice to comment on specific areas of speculation. Our primary focus is on general insurance. We believe it will give better returns and growth in the long term. But our recent results show our life business has made an important contribution to the business.”