Big news in the world of voluntary insurance products: Guardian Life Insurance Company of America has nailed down a deal to buy Avsis Inc.

In addition to its life insurance business, Guardian is a major dental insurer. Avsis is a big-time provider of dental, vision and hearing insurance plans for both government health plans and private sector group health plans. It boasts 3 million members enrolled in its plans through Medicaid, CHIP and Medicare Advantage, as well as 1.5 million members in its group vision plans.

"Guardian's acquisition of Avsis underscores our commitment to delivering affordable, quality vision, dental and hearing care to Americans where and how they prefer to be served," said Chris Swanker, a Guardian executive who is slated to become Avsis' CEO after the merger is complete. "Avsis' proprietary network of independent dentists and optometrists provide significant synergies with Guardian's extensive benefits portfolio, as well as those of our subsidiaries Premier Access Insurance Company and Access Dental Services."

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