France - Insurance

Insurance is supervised by the government directorate of insurance, while reinsurance is regulated by the Ministry of Commerce. In 1946, 32 major insurance companies were nationalized, and a central reinsurance institute was organized. All private insurance companies are required to place a portion of their reinsurance with the central reinsurance institute. In France, workers' compensation, tenants' property damage liability, and third-party automobile liability are among the insurances that are compulsory.

However, as of 1996, the insurance sector was being shifted completely into private hands. Union des Assurances de Paris (UAP), which is France's largest insurance group, was privatized in 1994. The combining of insurance services with retail banking has become fashionable in recent years, hence the neologism bancassurance. Partners in this practice are UAP and BNP. Another development has been to forge alliances across the Rhine in Germany. Assurances Générale de France (AGF), still to be privatized, has chosen this path. Since July of 1994, insurers registered in other European Union (EU) countries have been able to write risks in France under the EU Non-Life Directive.

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