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Baloise Holdings Grow In Belgium

Posted on Mar 21, 2011 by Sergio Ulloa ()

Swiss based insurer, the Baloise Group, has announced that it is taking over Belgium insurance company Ethias, which trades the insurance brands Nateus and Nateus Life. Subject to regulatory approval, the acquisition will see the Swiss insurer rapidly expand its presence in the Belgian life and non-life insurance sectors; the transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter 2011. Nateus and Nateus Life operate in Belgium under the combined brand name Nateus. In 2009, Nateus reported a combined premium volume of €342 million (US$478 million), with life insurance products under the Nateus Life segment being responsible for 53 percent of the group's total income. Nateus is based in the city of Antwerp in Belgium and has approximately 450 employees. Martin Strobel, the Baloise Group's Chief Executive Officer, said "By acquiring Nateus we expand significantly our position in Belgium. Nateus is an important building block to further increase growth and earning power of Baloise." Beloise currently sells insurances products in Belgium through its subsidiaries Mercator Verzekeringen and Avero Schadeverzekering - operating as Mercator NZ - via brokers who have exclusive rights; the clients being mainly private individuals or small to medium sized companies. Beloise operates on a similar basis to Nateus and is already successful in the Belgium insurance market; in 2009 it generated business totaling €543 million (US$760 million), with its non-life channel contributing €384 million (US$537 million) of this activity; earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) amounted to €36 million (US$54 million) in 2009. Beloise currently holds approximately 7 percent of the non-life market in Belgium and is one of the top five insurance companies in the country. Baloise acquired Avéro Schadeverzekering in 2010 from the Dutch firm the Eureko Group for €75 million (US$105 million). When Baloise made the acquisition, Avero held a 13 percent market share in the transport insurance sector in Belgium. Belgium is a well developed country and plays a key role in the European community, with a population exceeding 10 million people. Although the financial sector in Belgium was badly affected by the worldwide economic turmoil in 2008, with several key banks requiring a government bailout, it is slowly recovering its stability with resurgence in demand for saving and protection products. "I look forward to continuing the success story in Belgium. With this second acquisition within a year, we consequently continue on our growth course in the international business." said Baloise, Jan De Meulder, Member of the Corporate Executive Committee and Head of the International Division. Insurance Companies Mentioned: Baloise Baloise Holding Ltd - Switzerland Baloise Holding Ltd was founded in Basel Switzerland in 1962 and offers insurance, banking and pension products and services. Baloise non-life insurance products include accident, health, general liability, motor, fire and other property, marine, and miscellaneous insurance. Baloise also provides life insurance products. The group's network currently operates in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, Serbia, and Liechtenstein. Nateus The Nateus Group  - Belgium The Nateus Group is based in Antwerp, Belgium and offers motor vehicle, driver, home and family insurance in the non-life market and a range of products in the life insurance sector.
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