Crédit Agricole completes takeover of Portuguese P&C insurer GNB Seguros

Last modified October 9, 2020. Published October 9, 2020.

Crédit Agricole now controls 100% of Portuguese property and casualty insurer GNB Seguros after completing a long-awaited takeover, the French asset manager said Friday. 

The acquisition was launched two years ago, when Crédit Agricole purchased 25% of GNB Seguros, which had EUR 78 million ($92 million) in premiums at the end of 2019. 

Lisbon-based GNB Seguros primarily supplies home, auto and health insurance, while also offering credit-linked unemployment coverage, repatriation and accident policies. Its policies are distributed through Portuguese bank Novo Banco’s retail network and through Credibom, Crédit Agricole’s Portuguese consumer finance subsidiary.

As part of the deal, Novo Banco will continue to distribute GNB Seguros’ insurance policies through its retail network until at least 2042. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

“With this acquisition and the distribution agreement with the Novo Banco network, Crédit Agricole Assurances consolidates its position on the Portuguese market, while strengthening our international bancassurance model,” said Philippe Dumont, CEO of Crédit Agricole Assurances. “Our international development, and particularly in Portugal, is fully in line with our strategic ambitions in non-life insurance.”

As the insurance subsidiary of Europe’s largest asset manager, Crédit Agricole Assurances now offers insurance products in 10 countries and employs 4,700 people. The Paris-based company reported EUR 37 billion ($44 billion) in premium income at the end of 2019, making it France’s largest insurance group. 

Crédit Agricole Assurances and GNB Seguros face competition in the Portuguese property and casualty space from Mapfre, which signed a deal with Banco Santander in July to have the bank distribute the insurer’s non-life insurance policies in the country. 

The Spanish bank will exclusively distribute Mapfre’s automobile, small-to-mid-sized enterprise multirisk and third-party liability policies in Portugal until 2037, the companies said, subject to regulatory approval. 

The coronavirus pandemic has put pressure on European banks and insurers, especially now that a surge in COVID-19 cases during September and October has led to heightened restrictions in countries including Portugal, Spain and France.

In July, Crédit Agricole Assurances issued EUR 1 billion ($1.18 billion) in subordinated bonds to satisfy regulatory solvency ratios, building up reserves to weather the pandemic. 

--Additional reporting by Covey Son