Co-op may sell insurance arm

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The Independent Online

The Co-Operative Group may sell its life-insurance arm as it reorganises its financial-services division following last year's merger with Britannia, reports have suggested.

The Co-operative, which runs businesses ranging from supermarkets to funeral homes, has appointed Deutsche Bank to review its options. The society is gauging interest by sending information packs to potential bidders for the unit, which sells pensions and protection insurance and has £18bn in assets. The potential suitors for the business include the listed insurers Legal & General, Aviva, Resolution, and Phoenix Group, as well as the mutual society Royal London. The Co-op wants to sell more products through its bank premises rather than through a direct-sales force, currently the main channel.

The Co-op and Deutsche Bank declined to comment yesterday.