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First Swedish life insurer to demutualise

SWEDEN – Handelsbanken Liv is to become the first Swedish life insurance company to demutualise and become a profit-distributing firm.
The move, which comes after government approval, will take place on January 1, 2002.

“We are very pleased to have received the go-ahead and to be able to complete the restructuring process,” says Barbro Johansson, president of Handelsbanken Liv.

The insurer says the decision follows the new law on insurance company operations that came into effect on January 1, 2000.
The objective of the law is to improve conditions for insurance customers and to replace outdated regulations.

The law also makes it possible to convert mutual life insurance companies into profit-distributing companies, which implies harmonisation with legislation in the rest of Europe, says Handelsbanken Liv.

At the end of last year, the insurer held a ballot among its customers, in which 98% voted in favour of de-mutualisation. Following the vote, says the company, the Swedish financial supervisory authority, Finansinspektionen, recommended the company’s application for becoming a profit-distributing firm.




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