Assistance and travel insurer the Elmonda Group has acquired its American rival, World Access, for an undisclosed fee.

The move strengthens the group's position in the UK market, where World Access has a subsidiary, as well as its presence in North America and Asia.

Dennis Peckham, general manager of the travel division said: "This acquisition helps us because it gives us a global platform. This will significantly increase our presence in the States in terms of accident management."

Prior to the take-over, Elmonda had 4,000 staff, who generated a turnover of £485m and handled eight million assistance cases. World Access currently has a turnover of £77m, 600 staff and handled three million interventions.

Elmonda claims the acquisition will make it the largest travel insurance and accident management company in the world. The group also claims it will increase turnover by 30% this year.

Elmonda is part of the Allianz Group, and a subsidiary of the French insurer AGF (50%) and the Italian insurer RAS (50%). It combines the Swiss company Elvia Travel Insurance and the French group Mondial Assistance.