Why insurance escapes the merger between Societe Generale and Crédit du Nord

Sent 30 Dec. 2022 at 8:14 am

1eh In January, Crédit du Nord and Société Générale will become one. However, the merger of the two banks will not concern one of the businesses common to the networks of the Societe Generale group. Insurance is currently escaping the movement of concentration.

“We had considered merging the life insurance units at the same time as the banks, but bringing the networks together is already a very large project to complete,” explains Philippe Perret, CEO of Société Générale Assurances.

Shut down

Antarius, the Crédit du Nord life insurance company, will therefore not initially be married to Sogécap, its alter ego on the Societe Generale side. “Governance is already unique between the two companies, and their merger will above all be a regulatory matter without social impact”, tempers the manager. Antarius’ activities are already managed by teams from Societe Generale Assurances.

However, Antarius will be disconnected from the Crédit du Nord networks to be phased out. “There will be no more new contracts, but the company will continue to live, to manage the existing stock, specifies Philippe Perret. Sogécap will take over from Crédit du Nord customers for the subscription of life insurance and savings products. As of September 30, Sogecap managed 92 billion euros in life insurance and Antarius 15 billion.

Born in 1996, Antarius was originally a joint venture between Crédit du Nord and Cardif, BNP Paribas’ insurance subsidiary. After the northern bank entered the Societe Generale fold in 1997, Aviva France took over from Cardiff in 2004. Then the red and black bank regained full control of the company by acquiring 50% of Aviva France in 2017.

At the time of this last transfer, Antarius managed 14 billion euros. Since then, growth in the portfolio has been rather weak. In property and casualty insurance, Crédit du Nord customers have been able to take out products from Sogessur, the property and casualty subsidiary of Société Générale Assurances, for five years now. But success is still limited.

Mass market customers

“We intend to take advantage of the momentum provided by the creation of the new bank to increase the equipment of customers in the field of protection products,” says Philippe Perret. The offers are already almost identical to those of the Societe Generale network, but they will be more readable now. We want a single network with a single information system in front of us. »

The desire to accelerate concerns all areas. “The group’s customers have an average of one or two insurance products. We can do better, says the head of the business area. While most private banking customers have a life insurance and savings product, there is still great potential for mass market customers. »

In individual protection and damage, where the group aimed for an equipment rate of 20% and 12% respectively in its latest strategic plan, “the margins for improvement are even greater and we have an ambitious action plan”, adds Philippe Perret.

External growth

The emergence of Societe Generale Assurances, the middleweight in bancassurance, also involves partnerships with other brands within the group (Boursorama, ALD) or outside. Even by buying back life insurance portfolios.

Candidate for the takeover of Milleis Vie (ex-Barclays France), then from Allianz France in Génération Vie (joint venture with Oddo BHF), Société Générale Assurances has, according to several sources, positioned itself on the Ageas France file, currently for sales. The company does not comment.

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