UPDATE 1-CIMB seeks bids for Southeast Asia insurance distribution - sources
* Global insurers keen on distribution deals
* Eye access to extensive branch network
* Incumbent Allianz expected to bid to renew deal-sources
* CIMB keen for one combined bid for markets - sources (Adds bankers' comments, details on previous deals)
By Anshuman Daga and Yantoultra Ngui
SINGAPORE/KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Malaysian lender CIMB Group Holdings has invited bids from insurers for an agreement to distribute their general insurance products in four Southeast Asian markets, a deal that could fetch it about $400 million, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Malaysia's No. 2 bank has hired JPMorgan to advise it on the deal, which is expected to draw interest from companies including Australia's QBE Insurance Group, Tokyo Marine Holdings Inc, France's AXA and Italy's Generali among others, the people said.
German insurer Allianz's 10-year bancassurance agreement to distribute general insurance products through CIMB's branches in Malaysia ends in 2017. Allianz is looking to renew the partnership, people familiar with the process said.
The so-called bancassurance model - as opposed to the traditional agency model - is lucrative for banks because global insurers are willing to pay hefty fees for access to lenders' branch networks and exposure to the growing middle class in emerging markets to sell life, property, motor and fire insurance. Continued...