British insurer Aviva to take up Swiss Life's Belgian subsidiary

By Margarita Snegireva. Aviva Plc will become one of the five largest group life-insurers in Belgium, buying Swiss Life Holding's Belgian unit for 135 million euros ($196 million).

Aviva's Delta Lloyd Group unit will buy the business from SNS Reaal NV, the Dutch financial-services company that in November agreed to buy Swiss Life's Dutch and Belgian units, London-based Aviva said today in a statement.

Swiss Life, Switzerland 's largest life insurer, last year agreed to sell its Dutch and Belgian units for as much as 1.54 billion euros. Utrecht, Netherlands-based SNS Reaal decided to sell Swiss Life Belgium because the company's focus is on the Netherlands, it said in a statement.

Aviva plc is the world's fifth-largest insurance group, the biggest insurance group in the UK and the second-largest insurance group in Canada. Worldwide, it trails behind AXA, Allianz, ING and Fortis. It is one of the leading providers of life and pensions products in Europe and has a presence in 25 countries worldwide, notably France and The Netherlands. The company was formerly called CGNU, and was created by a merger of Norwich Union and CGU plc (itself created by the 1998 merger of Commercial Union and General Accident) in 2000. The Aviva name was adopted in July 2002. The company still uses the Norwich Union name within the United Kingdom.

Its main activities are long-term savings, fund management and general insurance. It has around £332 billion of assets under management. The group has just under 55,000 employees, including just under 35,000 in the UK, serving 35 million customers worldwide. Aviva plc is the holding company of the Aviva group of companies, which carries out life assurance and long-term savings business, fund management and all classes of general insurance. It also invests in securities, properties, mortgages and loans, and trades in property.

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