1900-1997: creation and development of a multi-line insurance group
The creation of Groupama is a story that goes back more than one hundred years. The starting point was the Act of 4 July 1900, which allowed the birth, then the subsequent organisation of the agricultural mutual insurance movement in France. The Agricultural Mutual Insurance Companies (Assurances Mutuelles Agricoles) were created to protect and serve the farmers who at that time represented 80% of the nation’s wealth.
In 1963, the Agricultural Mutual Insurance Companies opened up their business activity to the entire non-life insurance segment in order to continue their vocation of serving the interests of agriculture and passing on the tradition of mutual insurance. In 1972, they started a life insurance business.
The name “Groupama” was created in 1986, bringing together all the entities of an insurance group that had adapted to the new economic conditions and the globalisation of the financial markets.
1998-2005: growth in France and development of financial services
In 1998, on conclusion of a privatisation procedure involving major international groups, Groupama acquired Gan, a group whose business activities complemented those of Groupama.
In 2001, seeking to extend its services to include banking products, the Group joined forces with Société Générale to create Groupama Banque, a multi-channel bank for Groupama’s customers. In 2003, the regional mutuals rolled out a banking offering to Groupama’s members.
A number of mergers and acquisitions were initiated in 2002 in France (acquisition of CGU Courtage, merged with and into Gan Eurocourtage) and at the international level (acquisition of Plus Ultra Generales in Spain).
In 2003, the Group’s national entities were restructured to be better adapted to its growth strategy. The Fédération Nationale Groupama was created and Groupama S.A. became the exclusive reinsurer of the regional mutuals following the dissolution of the Central Mutual, the Caisse Centrale des Assurances Mutuelles Agricoles.
2006-2010: international growth and partnerships
Between 2006 and 2007, Groupama developed internationally with the acquisition of entities in Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Italy.
In 2007 and 2008, Groupama made strong advances in Central and Eastern Europe by acquiring the Greek insurer Phoenix Metrolife and Romanian insurance companies BT Asigurari and Asiban, and by strengthening its positions in Turkey, through the purchase of insurance companies Güven Sigorta and Güven Hayat. Groupama also entered into a strategic partnership with OTP Bank, the leading independent bank in Central Europe, resulting in distribution agreements in nine countries and the acquisition of the insurance operations of OTP, the leading company in Hungary, as well as its insurance subsidiaries in Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia.
Groupama also acquired a 35% stake in STAR, the leading company in the Tunisian insurance market.
With a view to gaining an urban customer base and new distribution channels in France, in mid-2008 Groupama launched “Amaguiz.com”, the brand intended for online sales only.
In the bancassurance market, the partnership agreement entered into with La Banque Postale in 2009 resulted in the creation of a joint venture, La Banque Postale Assurances IARD, which is 65% held by La Banque Postale and 35% by Groupama. This company offers non-life insurance products (motor, home, legal protection) via remote-selling channels (internet and telephone) and through La Banque Postale’s network of offices.
In 2010, Groupama and the AVIC group (Aviation Industry Corporation of China) signed an agreement creating a joint venture to expand activities in the non-life insurance segment in the People’s Republic of China.
Since 2011: focus on profitability and customer satisfaction
Major events of 2011 included the eurozone debt crisis, particularly in Greece, and the significant deterioration of the financial markets, which affected Groupama’s financial position.
To address these events, the Group implemented measures in 2012 to strengthen its solvency margin while reducing the sensitivity of its balance sheet to financial market fluctuations. Groupama thus adjusted its business scope by selling Gan Eurocourtage’s property and casualty business, Gan Eurocourtage’s maritime business in France, Groupama Private Equity, its Spanish subsidiary, and its non-life insurance subsidiary in the United Kingdom.
In 2013, the Group returned to profitability and reinforced its financial flexibility. Its solvency margin reached 200%. The group defined its 2014-2018 strategy programme.
This programme, built on Groupama’s key strengths, is based on four strategic workstreams for the Group: highly satisfied customers, profitable growth, a culture of efficiency and highly committed employees.
In 2014, Groupama S.A.’s bylaws were amended to include in its corporate purpose its role as central body of the network of agricultural insurance and reinsurance companies or mutuals, in accordance with the law of 26 July 2013 on separation and regulation of banking activities.
In 2015, Groupama continued its strategy of developing partnerships with leading players. Amaline (Amaguiz) and DIAC, a subsidiary of the Renault group, teamed up to market a motor insurance solution specifically for customers of this network. Groupama and Orange signed a partnership agreement to create a unique banking product, 100% mobile, marketed starting in 2017 under the Orange brand in the Orange distribution network and under the Groupama brand in the distribution networks of the Groupama group.
At the end of 2015, Groupama was the first mutual insurer to launch the mutual insurance certificates, “certificats mutualistes”, authorised by the Social and Solidarity Economy law of July 2014. The regional mutuals thus acquired the necessary financial resources to invest in the territories and develop a new long-term, quality relationship with their members based on trust.