BNP Paribas has combined all of its insurance businesses into a holding company called BNP Paribas Assurance. The brands Cardif, Natio Vie and Natio Assurance will continue to be used throughout the financial services group.
The creation of this new entity -France’s fourth largest life-insurance group and a leading provider of property and casualty insurance solutions through its partnership with AXA- confirms BNP Paribas’ determination to make the insurance business one of the engines driving its growth both in and outside France.
BNP Paribas Assurance has a workforce of 3000. It has a presence in France through Natio Vie and Natio Assurance, which sell their products and services throughout BNP Paribas’ commercial network, as well as through Cardif, which markets its products and services via its partnership network, insurance brokers, independent financial advisors, and by direct sales to its customers. Outside France, Cardif has a presence in 27 countries and ranks amongst the world’s leading credit payment protection (CPP) companies. It distributes its products and services through contractual arrangements with banks, credit companies, and, in certain European countries, through independent financial advisors. After signing partnership deals in 2001 and 2002 in India, Korea and Thailand, Cardif acquired a U.S. company and signed a deal with the Russian Standard Bank Group.
In 2002, BNP Paribas’ insurance businesses posted euros 8.2bn in premiums. In the first nine months of 2003, revenues grew 9% and pre-tax income was euros 276mn, up 15% compared to 2002.
The purpose of the new organisation of the business is to speed up the already fast-paced expansion of the personal insurance business, which is of strategic importance to BNP Paribas. Paul Villemagne, 61, who as of 1999 headed the insurance business line, will become Chairman of the new company. Eric Lombard, 45, who until now was in charge of Financial Institutions and Corporate clients in BNP Paribas’ Corporate and Investment Banking arm, will assume the role of Managing Director.
Paul Villemagne, 61, is a graduate of France’s Ecole centrale des arts et manufactures, holds a PhD in mathematics, and is an alumnus of the Political Science Institute of Paris and of the French Actuaries Institute.
He began his career working at Neuflize, Schlumberger, Mallet Bank, before joining the Compagnie Bancaire in 1970. He joined Cardif in 1975 as Corporate and Board Secretary before being appointed Managing Director in 1982 and Chief Executive Officer in 1991. In 1999, he became head of BNP Paribas’s insurance subsidiaries and Chairman of BNP Paribas Assurance in 2004.
Eric Lombard, 45, is a graduate of France’s prestigious HEC Business School (class of ’81). He entered Paribas in 1981 and held various positions in the International Trade Department and in Financial Management until 1989. He then became Advisor to the spokesman for the French Government from 1989 to 1991, then Advisor to the Justice Minister from 1991 to 1992 and Advisor to the Economy and Finance Minister from 1992 to 1993.
He returned to Paribas in April 1993 when he became head of M&A in the banking and insurance industries, head of the Financial Institutions Group and was member of this department’s Executive Committee between 1997 and 1999.
He was appointed head of BNP Paribas’ Financial Institutions Group in September 1999 and member of Corporate and Investment Banking’s General Management Committee, then head of Corporates and Financial Institutions in September 2002
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