MetLife, known for life insurance, may part with its agents

NEW YORK, N.Y. – MetLife is in talks to part ways with the life insurance agents who long defined one of the world’s biggest life insurance companies.

The unit that the company is in talk to sell, known as MetLife Premier Client Group, has 4,000 agents who sell a number of policies, including life insurance, to individuals and small businesses, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The company confirmed Thursday that was negotiating a possible sale with MassMutual, another insurance company, after talks were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The nation’s largest insurance companies began to restructure their businesses following the financial crisis, from which the term “too big to fail” arose. New regulations intended to head off economic calamities have pushed companies like MetLife into major overhauls.