Banks test insurance market

Having successfully expanded into other Balkan markets, Greek banks are now setting their sights on insurance markets. The National Bank group already operates its own insurance subsidiary in Romania, Garanta, with 11 offices and 356 salespeople. Early in 2006, it acquired a 100 percent stake in Alpha Insurance Romania. After renaming the company NBG Asigurari, the bank now plans to merge it with Garanta. A five-year deal provides for the sale of NBG Asigurari products through Alpha Bank Romania, while Garanta products will be sold through NBG subsidiary Banca Romaneasca and Piraeus Banc Romania. In Bulgaria, NBG has allied itself with US giant insurer AIG to found two companies, one specializing in life insurance and the other in general insurance. Eurobank and Alpha Bank are also becoming active in Romania and Bulgaria, although their subsidiaries in those countries are in the process of being set up. Alpha is in partnership with France’s AXA.

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