September 3, 2014 / 7:10 PM / in 3 years

Two French mutual insurers agree to enter tie-up talks

PARIS (Reuters) - French mutual health insurer Mutuelle Generale said on Wednesday it had entered exclusive tie-up talks with bigger rival Malakoff Mederic to create the country’s biggest not-for-profit mutual insurer owned by policyholders.

Based on 2013 figures, the combined group would have 4.6 billion euros ($6.1 billion) in annual revenue, with 2.4 billion coming from health insurance, Malakoff said separately in a statement.

    With smaller mutuals under pressure from retirement funds to merge with bigger rivals, Mutuelle Generale said in June it was weighing opening partnership talks with either Malakoff or Humanis, another big French mutual.

    France’s mutual insurers, which compete with listed rivals such as AXA (AXAF.PA) in some business lines like life insurance, are bracing for a shake-up as a new law will require all workers to have health policies on top of their basic state-provided health insurance from 2016.

    Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by James Regan

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