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INSURANCE SHORTS

OTP Garancia changes to Groupama

THE TWO companies of OTP Garancia, both its life insurance underwriter and its non-life insurer, are changing their trade name to Groupama. The insurance companies changed owners last year when the French investor Groupama bought the two insurers from Hungarian firm OTP, the SITA newswire wrote on March 5.

THE TWO companies of OTP Garancia, both its life insurance underwriter and its non-life insurer, are changing their trade name to Groupama. The insurance companies changed owners last year when the French investor Groupama bought the two insurers from Hungarian firm OTP, the SITA newswire wrote on March 5.

“We want to make use of Groupama’s experience in Europe, which we would like to implement in the Slovak market,” the director general of Groupama in Slovakia, Ľudovít Konczer, told a news conference on March 5. He said that Groupama is strong abroad, chiefly in France, in the sector of farmers’ insurance and insurance of municipal property.

Non-life insurance is a priority for Groupama at the moment, while later it wants to develop its life insurance sector too.

“Our primary goal this year is to acquire a significant share of the municipal property insurance market,” said Konczer. They want to benefit from Groupama’s experience and its cooperation with the Dexia group in France. “We want to follow this partnership within Slovakia, namely with the Slovak Dexia.”

The second segment in Slovakia in which Groupama would like to position itself is insurance of entrepreneurs involved in the farming business. Simultaneously, Groupama will focus on investments in its retail network.

It plans to extend its branch network to all eight regional capitals in Slovakia and further extend the retail network throughout Slovakia by 2010. In the second half of 2009, the company plans to revise its product portfolio to include new insurance products, with the ambition of dynamic growth of its market share.

“Slovakia is a market with good growth potential for Groupama and our goal is to make it into the top 10 insurance companies within three to five years,” said Groupama’s director for central and eastern Europe, Erik Nagy.

With regard to the global economic crisis, Nagy said that Groupama plans no new acquisitions this year and will only concentrate on those it has already made. “However, we want to expand further in central and eastern, as well as southern European countries in the mid and long-term,” added Nagy.

The two insurance businesses were entered in the Corporate Register in 2003. Hungarian OTP Garancia Biztosító Rt. was the majority shareholder in both companies in May 2008, while the minority share was controlled by OTP Banka Slovensko.

French Groupama International is currently the exclusive owner of the two insurance companies. The sales contract was signed on May 7, 2008 and shares were transferred on September 9, 2008.

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