Axa Bank Europe formed…

VAs set to take off in Europe…

Uniqa takes control of Ukrainian insurer…

Cathay Life gets Vietnam go-ahead…

Dai-ichi eyes demutualisation…

BANCASSURANCE
Axa Bank Europe formed

Axa has formed a new banking unit, Axa Bank Europe (ABE), a move
the French insurer said was aimed at co-ordinating its European
retail banking operations in close co-operation with its insurance
operations. ABE will utilise Axa Bank Belgium as its centralising
legal entity and it is intended that Axa’s other banks in France,
Germany and Hungary will operate as subsidiaries or branches. ABE
will be supervised by Alfred Bouckaert, a member of Axa’s
management board, and managed by Hervé Hatt, CEO of Axa Banque in
France.

VARIABLE ANNUITIES
VAs set to take off in Europe

Expect “explosive” growth in Europe’s variable annuity (VA) market,
predicts consultancy Oliver Wyman. It believes the market, which is
worth only a few billion euros at present, could be worth €45
billion ($65 billion) over the next five years. The UK, Germany,
France, Spain, Italy and Belgium are predicted to see the strongest
growth.

DEVELOPING MARKETS
Uniqa takes control of Ukrainian insurer

Austrian insurer Uniqa has increased its stake in Ukraine’s
sixth-largest general insurer, Credo-Classic, from the 35 percent
it acquired in April 2006 to 61 percent. The acquisition also
indirectly increases Uniqa’s stake in Ukrainian life insurer Uniqa
Life, which it founded jointly with Credo-Classic, to over 80
percent.

DEVELOPING MARKETS
Cathay Life gets Vietnam go-ahead

Taiwanese insurer Cathay Life has been granted a licence to
establish a life insurance company in Vietnam. The new insurer,
which will have an initial capital of about $60 million, will
become Vietnam’s eighth life insurance company.

COMPANIES
Dai-ichi eyes demutualisation

Dai-ichi Mutual, Japan’s second-largest life insurer, has moved to
quell media speculation it was to demutualise and launch an initial
public offering in 2010 that could be worth up to $9 billion. The
insurer said in a statement: “The company is conducting a
feasibility study on demutualisation. However, the company has not
yet determined any concrete plan at this moment. The company
commits that, in case it has decided to demutualise in the future,
it will make an announcement immediately.”