ROMANIA - Netherlands-registered insurer Eureko is renaming its Romanian operations prior to a pension fund merger, in a bid to reassure clients.

Interamerica Romania, which has been part of the Eureko group since 2001, is now being rebranded as Eureko Romania.

"In an emerging market it is good to show the operation is part of a larger, international company - it is a comfort factor for clients, particularly in those times," said Lorrie Morgan, spokeswoman for Eureko.

Eureko currently has over 350,000 clients in its Romanian second pillar funds and has just received permission to offer funds in the voluntary third pillar as well.

Morgan stressed the rebranding was only going to take place in Romania and not in other countries, such as Bulgaria and Greece, where the insurer will still be operating under the Interamerican brand.

"There was a suggestion for further rebranding but the executive board decided to let each of the subsidiaries decide for themselves," said Morgan.

She argued, for example, Interamerican is too well-known in Greece to be rebranded as Eureko.

"In some markets it would not be practical," she said.

This latest development comes just as the Dutch insurance group revealed it has appointed a new chief executive to replace Maarten Dijkshoorn, who stepped down at the beginning of this year. (See earlier IPE article: Polish Treasury worried about Eureko)

Willem van Duin, until now vice-chairman of the executive board at Eureko, has taken over as CEO.

"These are challenging times for Eureko," noted van Duin in a statement.

"The crisis in the financial world has also affected Eureko considerably. Nevertheless we look at the future with great confidence," he continued.

Frans van der Ent, country manager for Eureko in Romania, also recognised market conditions will make it a " challenging, but also an exciting year with so many developments and initiatives in place".

Interamerican, now Eureko, is merging with the Bancpost pension fund in Romania, as announced at the end of last year. (See earlier IPE article: Consolidation stage set in Romania)

"This will be completed in the 1st half of 2009," the insurer confirmed today.

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