Pru picks partners to take on European giants

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The Independent Online

The Prudential, Britain's biggest life insurer, yesterday announced it had struck partnership agreements with Caisse Nationale de Prevoyance (CNP), France's largest life assurer, and the German healthcare insurer Signal Iduna, in an attempt to take on the continental European insurance giants Axa and Allianz.

The Prudential, Britain's biggest life insurer, yesterday announced it had struck partnership agreements with Caisse Nationale de Prevoyance (CNP), France's largest life assurer, and the German healthcare insurer Signal Iduna, in an attempt to take on the continental European insurance giants Axa and Allianz.

Sir Peter Davis, Prudential's chief executive, said it was starting in France and Germany but had plans for similar deals in Italy and Spain in due course.

"What we have decided is rather than trying to buy a life company and change it to do it our way, we would be better off going for some low-key distribution alliances," he said. He added that the partnership approach had worked very well for the group in Asia.

"This is a long-term bet. The market in Europe is changing and we want to be part of it. What we have tried to do is act like a new entrant in Europe."

The partnership deals allow for reciprocal access to distribution networks. Jacques Ouvaroff, a director at CNP, said the French group has plans to market modified versions of the Pru's with-profit policies and long-term care bonds in through its 27,000 outlets in France, where it has 20 per cent of the market.

The deal with Signal Iduna involves setting up a joint-venture life company in Dublin which will be run by the Pru. That will initially concentrate on marketing the Pru's long-term care bonds but there are plans to develop the partnership more widely.

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