AGF PLANS VENTURE WITH POLISH GROUP

AGF PLANS VENTURE WITH POLISH GROUP

Assurances Generales de France (AGF), the second largest French nationalized insurer, signed a letter of intent to set up a insurance company in Poland with a foundation linked to Solidarity.

A statement released by AGF last week said the insurer would seek approval for the joint venture company as soon as new laws governing insurance and ownership are passed in Poland. This is expected to occur within the next two months. The new venture should become operational Jan. 1, AGF said in its statement.The capital of the new concern will be 51 percent owned by Poland's Mazowsze Foundation and 49 percent by AGF International, an AGF subsidiary that groups the French company's overseas interests. The amount of capital has not yet be fixed since it must be approved by the Polish authorities.

The Foundation Mazowsze is made up of four partners - the Batory Foundation, which was set up by Solidarity in 1987, the Warsaw branch of Solidarity, the union's Warsaw civic committees, and the Polish scientific associations.

Initially, AGF plans to provide know-how to the joint operation, both in the non-life sector and in international insurance. In particularly, the French company will train staff and install computer systems. For its part, the Polish partners will provide premises, personnel and access to local business and individual customers, AGF said.

Until now, insurance in Poland has been shared by two organizations, the government agency PZU, which handles domestic cover, and the company Warta, which handles foreign risks. Premium income of the two totals about $80 million, the statement said.

AGF's overseas sales came to FF10.5 billion ($1.9 billion) in 1989, with the international subsidiary scoring 80 percent of its premium income in Europe, it added.