Axa Health will stop underwriting new business from January 2000.

The French insurer Axa Group is winding down the operation and transferring policy and administration to PPP healthcare in Tunbridge Wells. Axa Health will continue to offer existing customers renewal terms and provide new business terms for group leavers.

The move has been expected due to the small size of the Axa Health book. It has £6 million of premium income compared with its sister health company PPP's £670m of premium income.

"It is not commercially viable to operate two separate businesses in the UK," said Geoff Kitchen, Axa Health manager. "We have decided that the most cost-effective way to harness the strengths of our Axa Health and PPP healthcare operations is to concentrate on a single centre of excellence to be based at PPP healthcare's headquarters in Kent."

Terms and conditions for Axa Health policies will remain in place for the time being. PPP has also unveiled a new link with internet service provider AOL, which has 600,000 members, to provide information on a range of health issues.

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