Several candidates to take over Allianz’s shares in Generation Life

Posted Apr 6, 2022, 6:39 PMUpdated on Apr 6, 2022 at 7:25 PM

Life insurance continues to whet the appetites of French insurers. According to our information, several of them could apply to take over Allianz’s shares in the small insurance company Génération Vie, jointly owned with the family bank Oddo BHF.

At the beginning of the year, the German insurance giant mandated the Rothschild bank to sell its 52% stake in the company, which has a life insurance portfolio of around 5 billion euros and could be valued between 200 and 300 million euros.

While potential buyers have until the end of the week to express their interest, AG2R La Mondiale, Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, BNP Paribas Cardif and Société Générale Assurances (Sogécap) are interested in the file, several sources indicate. When questioned, the parties in question declined to comment.

“Sogecap is very motivated. Oddo is looking for a long-term partner to develop new business and Societe Generale is very close to Oddo”, indicates a source familiar with the matter. In 2020, Societe Generale looked into taking over the life insurance portfolio of Milleis (formerly Barclays France), but the sale had stalled.

Top of the line

AG2R La Mondiale’s interest comes as the social protection group, whose helm is about to be handed over to Bruno Angles, said it was on the lookout for opportunities for external growth in savings retirement.

Génération Vie wanting to specialize in high-end life insurance products, the company could interest insurers wishing to reach a wealthy clientele, accompanied by wealth management advisers, partners of Oddo.

Life insurance portfolios are often viewed with caution by traditional insurers. Because when they consist of traditional life insurance contracts (funds in euros) they are very costly in capital at a time of low rates.

Génération Vie can, however, pride itself on being very largely oriented towards unit-linked products, these supports that are much more profitable for insurers than euro funds (combined with a capital guarantee).

Long term partner

In recent years, new entrants backed by funds have pushed their way into the life insurance market in Europe. In France, Athora, supported by the Apollo fund, had thus positioned itself last year on the takeover of Aviva France (now Abeille), before the Aéma group (Macif) finally won the day.

The sale by Allianz of its shares in Génération Vie would however be of less interest to this type of player, who does not hesitate to manage portfolios in extinction. In particular because Oddo BHF could seek a long-term partner.

The plan to sell Allianz and exit its partnership with Oddo comes after the German insurer announced operations in Switzerland and the United States last year to reduce its exposure to life insurance. The group headed by Oliver Bäte seeks in particular to get rid of contracts with high guarantees, the latter proving costly in capital.

Allianz has recently cleaned up its portfolios, including those of Generation Life. In January, he announced the transfer to CNP Assurances of 2.1 billion euros of contracts distributed by La Banque Postale. An operation presented as the logical continuation of the merger between the latter and CNP Assurances.

Allianz is not alone in wanting to optimize its balance sheet by selling life insurance activities. The French insurer AXA is thus seeking to sell a large life insurance portfolio (15 billion euros) across the Rhine, the daily “Handelsblatt” revealed last week. An operation that would follow others going in the same direction, carried out in Switzerland and Belgium.

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