Baloise explores sale of $1.1 billion Belgian insurance portfolio – sources

By Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro

LONDON (Reuters) – Swiss insurer Baloise is in talks to sell around 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) of life insurance policies in Belgium, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The Basel-based group has been working with bankers at ING Groep to gauge interest in the portfolio, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Discussions are at an advanced stage, and a deal could be signed soon, one of the people added.

“It is standard procedure for us to regularly review parts of our portfolios in the country units,” a Baloise spokesperson said, declining to comment further. “Should this result in changes, we would communicate them at the appropriate time.”

ING declined to comment.

The efforts come as other traditional insurers sell non-core portfolios with a view to freeing up capital held against those liabilities.

In April, Dutch insurer Aegon sold its UK individual protection portfolio to rival Royal London.

Baloise had previously looked to acquisitions to grow its business in Belgium.

In 2020, the Swiss group purchased the non-life insurance operations of Apollo-backed Athora. The year before, it acquired multiline insurer Fidea.

Baloise saw premiums in its non-life insurance business grow by close to 6% in the first nine months of the year to 3.4 billion Swiss francs ($3.9 billion) globally.

However, life insurance premiums dropped more than 4% to 2.9 billion francs during the same period, according to its latest earnings release.

($1 = 0.9100 euros)

($1 = 0.8760 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro in London; Additional reporting by Paul Arnold in Zurich; Editing by Anousha Sakoui and Mark Potter)