Saison Automobile & Fire Insurance Co., a nonlife insurance wing of the Saison group, and H.I.S. Co., a travel agency that has a strong foothold in the overseas travel market, reached a comprehensive tieup agreement Tuesday to provide new insurance services for those traveling abroad, the two companies said.Under the business tieup, H.I.S. will provide about 1.1 billion yen in capital to Saison by acquiring up to 30 percent of its shares. It will also join Saison’s management and help the firm develop new insurance products for overseas travelers, company officials said. The move is expected to complement each firm’s needs. Saison aims to increase its market share as insurance deregulations become full scale, while H.I.S. is keen on strengthening its travel business by providing new insurance products to its customers.At a news conference in Tokyo, Tomonori Kanai, president of Saison Automobile & Fire Insurance, said the two firms are aiming to create new business chances based on a vast network of customer information. “H.I.S. has the information of its 2 million customers, while our top shareholder Credit Saison Co. retains a good reputation for its credit card business,” he said. “This customer database is the key in our common strategies.”H.I.S. President Hideo Sawada also expressed confidence in the alliance: “Both of us are going through a fundamental change in the conventional way of doing our businesses. The essence of this tieup is to pump new blood into each other and increase our competitiveness.”Although H.I.S. will become the second-largest shareholder in Saison Automobile & Fire Insurance when the capital tieup is complete, the travel agency has no future intention of placing the insurance firm under its umbrella, Sawada said. Saison Automobile & Fire Insurance, established in 1982 by the Saison group, has 10 billion yen in capital and sells automobile insurance as its main product.Its major shareholders include Saison group companies such as Credit Saison, Seibu Department Stores and Seiyu, a major supermarket chain.

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