May 18, 2020 / 3:23 PM / 8 days ago

Intesa says health insurance premiums up strongly as it closes RBM deal

MILAN, May 18 (Reuters) - Intesa Sanpaolo said on Monday pro-forma premiums at its health insurance division had risen strongly this year as it boosted the business by completing the acquisition of RBM.

Intesa said it had paid 325 million euros ($351 million) to acquire control of family-owned health insurer RBM, a slightly higher price than indicated when it announced the deal in December.

Since then, gross premiums at Intesa’s healthcare insurance business, when including the contribution from RBM, have risen to 690 million euros from 606 million euros.

RBM’s gross premiums alone stood at 577 million euros in March compared with 515 million in December.

The deal makes Intesa’s insurance arm the second largest health insurance company in Italy, with a market share of 21.5%.

Intesa said industry data showed Italy’s health insurance market had grown by 9.3% a year between 2015 and 2019.

Italy’s biggest bank by retail market share has been working on growing its insurance business to drive profits at a time when negative interest rates make lending unprofitable.

The deal, which will see Intesa buying 50% plus 1 share in RBM, is the first step in a plan to acquire the whole of the third largest health insurer in Italy, the companies said in a joint statement.

Intesa will progressively raise its shareholding between 2026 and 2029 in order to own the whole of RBM’s capital, they added. The price will be determined according to the company reaching set growth targets.

$1 = 0.9249 euros Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Mark Potter

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