Kyoei Mutual Fire & Marine Insurance Co. will join the Millea Insurance Group to be set up by three other life and nonlife insurance firms under a joint holding company by the end of 2004, the four companies said Thursday.

The Millea Insurance Group is being planned by Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance Co., Nichido Fire & Marine Insurance Co. and Asahi Mutual Life Insurance Co. as the nation’s first comprehensive alliance integrating life and nonlife insurance businesses.

Under the agreement, Kyoei will prepare to turn itself from a mutual company into a stock company as soon as possible in the period between April 2002 and April 2004. A mutual company is effectively owned by policyholders.

Kyoei will then join a holding company that Tokio Marine, Japan’s largest nonlife insurer, and Nichido Fire plan to set up jointly by April 2002, swapping its shares with those of the holding company to become a wholly owned subsidiary.

Asahi Mutual will also become a stock company by the end of 2004 and join the holding company later, in the same manner as Kyoei.

Kyoei has a solid footing in the networks of agricultural cooperatives, shinkin banks and consumer cooperatives, while Tokio Marine is strong in the wholesale business, Nichido Fire in retail and Asahi Mutual in life insurance.

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