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Covéa Group closes $9 billion purchase of PartnerRe

New chapter: Thierry Derez, chairman and chief executive officer of Covéa (Photograph supplied)

French mutual insurer Covéa has completed its $9 billion purchase of Bermudian-based reinsurer PartnerRe from Exor, the companies have announced.

In conjunction with the close of the sale, Thierry Derez, chief executive officer of Covéa Group, will replace Brian Dowd as chairman of the company’s board of directors.

A statement from Partner Re said Mr Dowd will remain on the board as an independent director, along with existing independent directors Mary Ann Brown and Hermann Pohlchristoph. PartnerRe president and CEO Jacques Bonneau will also remain on the board.

Covéa said the acquisition represented a major transformation for the group, the start of a “new chapter in its history”.

“It gives access to enhanced diversification in terms of product range, business lines and geographies in which the group operates, thus strengthening its position across the entire risk management value chain,” Covéa said.

Mr Derez said: “This acquisition enables Covéa to combine the expertise and support capabilities of the French market leader with those of a global risk management operator.

“With this greater diversification, our group will strengthen its position as a key player in risk management, covering the entire value chain. This major step forward in the group’s development is aligned with our 200-year history of adapting to risk transformation. It will enable us to continue to keep pace with changes in society and the expectations of our clients.”

Mr Bonneau said: “This transaction is a significant step and opens a new chapter in PartnerRe’s history, bringing together our best-in-class global reinsurance expertise with one of the leaders in property and casualty insurance in Europe.

“Covéa’s deep financial strength and strong ratings position PartnerRe as a sustainable business partner, and together our diversified business footprint and deep expertise create a new global leader in the reinsurance industry.”

Covéa had agreed to acquire PartnerRe from Exor in October 2021 after a similar deal struck in 2020 fell apart when Covéa failed to renegotiate the price as the Covid-19 pandemic struck.

Covéa and Exor later agreed to cooperate on reinsurance-linked investments, with Covéa injecting €750 million of capital into special-purpose reinsurance vehicles, effectively private collateralised reinsurance sidecar-type structures, that were managed by PartnerRe.

Exor has now acquired the interests in special-purpose reinsurance vehicles managed by PartnerRe for approximately $725 million from Covéa.

At the same time, the three parties will also continue to jointly invest in EXOR managed investment funds.

PartnerRe also announced that Enrico Vellano and António Horta-Osório have resigned from the board, in connection with the close.

Joining the board are Maud Petit, chief financial officer and deputy CEO of Covéa Group, and Thierry Francq, general manager for transformation and international activities, Covéa Group.

Mr Bonneau said: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Enrico and Antonio for their valuable contributions during their time on the PartnerRe board. I would also like to welcome our new chairman and board members, who will further strengthen the board’s breadth and depth of talent and will bring a new and valuable perspective.”

With these changes the PartnerRe board will have seven directors of whom three are independent directors.

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Published July 14, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated July 15, 2022 at 8:03 am)

Covéa Group closes $9 billion purchase of PartnerRe

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