Cardif Polska awarded the Polish Order of Culture

Cardif has been the main sponsor of a number of cultural events in Poland, including books on history and music, exhibitions, etc. In 2007, in recognition of the number of cultural philanthropy initiatives it had undertaken, Cardif Polska was awarded the insignia of the Polish Order of Culture (odznaka zasluzony dla kultury polskiej), by the Ministry of Culture.

Cardif Polska is the only financial institution to have received this distinction.

BNP Paribas Cardif

Cardif took the decision to set up in Poland in 1996, after Cardif top management CEO Paul Villemagne and Head of International Business Gérard Binet went on a reconnais- sance trip to the country arranged by Paribas, and following some encouraging meetings with the national regulator and the directors of top Polish bank PKO BP.

Jan Rosciszewski, who was part of a rising generation of young insurance entrepreneurs, met the Cardif managers during their trip and very quickly grasped just how useful the Cardif model could be for the Polish insurance market. He applied for a job with Cardif and was hired to head up operations in Poland. However it was no easy matter to obtain an insurance licence and Jan Rosciszewski first of all had to pass his insurance broker examinations. Finally a broking licence was obtained and in 1996 Cardif Polska started up as an insurance broker, working with the Polish subsidiary of the French insurance company Assurances Générales de France (AGF).

In February 1998 Cardif was granted an insurance licence, which allowed the firm to sell its own life insurance products, which laid the foundations on which to grow the business. Several prestigious partnerships were signed, including with GE and leading consumer credit provider Lukas. The next logical step was for Cardif to apply for a Property & Casualty insurance licence; this was obtained the following year without any difficulty.

Cardif was a real pioneer of the bancassurance concept in Poland. The firm grew fast and was soon selling its insurance products through 28 of the most highly-respected financial institutions in the country. For a number of years, Cardif was the leader in the Life-linked payment protection insurance segment.

Cardif s success was not however limited to the field of bancassurance. In 1999, Poland passed legislation introducing funded pension schemes. The new law made it mandatory for all wage-earners under 50 years of age to subscribe to place 7.3% of their salary in a supplementary retirement scheme. This remained optional for people over 50. A partner- ship was signed with the Polish postal service Poczta Polska to set up an Open Pension Fund, named Pocztylion, which was a joint venture held 60% by Poczta Polska and 40% by Cardif. In order to help attract flows into the fund, 16,000 postal service workers who had never sold financial products before had to be trained. Poczta Polska took charge of selling the fund over its counters, while Cardif was responsible for staff training and all promotional activities. Jean-Baptiste Segard, Pier-Paolo Dipaola and François-Xavier Hussenot were in turn sent to Poland to carry out these tasks. They were very successful, and 400,000 sales were recorded in one year.

On the basis of this experience the partners set up Pocztowa Agencja Usług Finansowych S.A. (PAUF), a subsidiary of the Polish postal service staffed by people who wished to work full time on selling insurance products. The network, comprising 8,000 agents, sold not

228 B N P PA R I B A S I N P O L A N D : B U S I N E S S L I N E S A N D S U B S I D I A R I E S