CGNU Expands in Hungary, India

March 21, 2001

Britain’s CGNU revealed plans to expand in Eastern Europe and India with the announcement that it would purchase Mebit, Hungary’s sixth largest life insurer, and would launch a mutual fund subsidiary in India in conjunction with its life insurance operations there.

CGNU will purchase Mebit from its current owner, Holland’s ABN/Amro Bank, for €102 million ($90.5 million). It sees growth opportunities in the Hungarian life market through Mebit’s 800 strong sales force, which concentrates on unit-linked life policies for high net worth individuals.

In India CGNU expects that its joint venture life insurance company in partnership with the Dabur group will become operational by this summer. India passed legislation permitting foreign insurers to hold up to 26 percent of the capital in Indian insurance companies last year, and a number of U.S. and European insurers have started life and p/c companies with Indian firms as partners.

CGNU plans to launch the mutual fund in partnership with the Dabur Group and with members of the Burman family who control it. It is expected to operate as an adjunct to the life insurance business, giving policy holders more options for investments and financial products, and acting as a vehicle to channel the investment of funds generated by the life business.

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