Axa is believed to be in talks to acquire Swiss Life's individual protection book with a view to reopening it and selling new products to an established market.
As revealed in Money Marketing three weeks ago, Axa is developing products to enter the protection market although it refuses to give details.
A senior industry source says it is now talking to Swiss Life about a possible deal.
It is thought Axa is seeking an established customer base to tap into rather than spending the large amount of capital required to develop its own.
Swiss Life announced it was closing its individual book to new business in July. Last week, it sold its group business to rival provider Unum Provident, effectively withdrawing from the UK market.
The source says: “Axa has made no secret of the fact that it needs to launch a protection range quickly. If a suitable acquisition were to come along, it would seem to make sense for it to pursue that course.”
Insurance Portfolio Consultancy director Brian Lentz says: “I would be glad to see Axa come into the protection market and it would obviously be in the interests of Swiss Life policyholders if a buyer was found.”
Axa spokesman Steve Muir says: “We do not comment on market speculation.”