AXA has agreed a strategic alliance with National Australia Bank to offer commercial insurance products to customers of National's three UK banks.

National previously had an agreement with Norwich Union.

From July 2004, customers of Clydesdale, Yorkshire and Northern Banks will be offered AXA commercial insurance as stand-alone products. Sources said the National book of commercial insurance currently has gross written premium of over £15m.

Employees working within National's commercial insurance division will transfer to AXA once the deal comes into effect.

National Wealth Management Europe chief executive Garry Mulcahy said the AXA agreement formed a key part of National's growth strategy, which he said was to focus on key capabilities in distribution and relationship management.

AXA direct commercial director Alan Beal said: "This is a great opportunity for AXA Insurance to build a really successful alliance."

In the past 12 months National has launched a high net worth home insurance offering with Hiscox and an alliance with Legal & General to offer life assurance and protection.

It has also forged an alliance with Junction to provide product and administration services for its home and motor insurance operations.

The deal comes after AXA was recently pipped at the post by Allianz Cornhill for the HSBC small and medium enterprise (SME) account. AXA also has a deal with Lloyds TSB to service its SME customers.