September 24, 2012 / 6:41 PM / in 5 years

UPDATE 1-Ageas shifts towards car and house insurance

* Wants to have 40 pct of portfolio in non-life by 2015

* Says could make divestments to achieve portfolio change

BRUSSELS, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Belgium-based insurance group Ageas is planning to take on more car and house insurance by 2015 as the life assurance specialist tries to mitigate the effect of low interest rates and regulatory changes.

“We aim to further strengthen our position in emerging markets and to further shift the balance between our underwriting income, fee income and investment income,” Chief Executive Bart De Smet said in a statement released on Monday before an investor event.

“A gradual increase in the relative proportion of non-Life activities will be instrumental in reaching this objective.”

Ageas is planning to raise to 40 percent the proportion of its portfolio in non-life assurance by 2015. Earlier this month it said it had agreed to buy the British non-life insurance business of France’s Groupama as part of this change.

It could sell some of its current operations to help it achieve this goal, De Smet added.

“Whether we are in the current portfolio having activities where we say OK we would like to sell them, that’s not excluded ... but we are not in a position where we need to go into fire sales,” he told the investor day in London.

At the end of the first half, about 70 percent of Ageas’s insurance inflows came from life assurance operations, with the remaining approximately 30 percent coming from non-life, which includes car and house insurance.

Ageas mainly focuses on non-life insurance in Britain, offering motor, household and travel insurance often in cooperation with partners such as supermarket chain Tesco and under the Kwik Fit brand.

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