Groupama has denied that it is seeking to acquire the motor book of Drake Insurance which is currently in run-off after the Financial Services Authority forced the insurer into liquidation.

The French insurer said talks with Drake were to ease problems caused by the run-off for its own intermediaries.

A statement read: "On behalf of a number of key intermediary partners we are looking to help them and their customers who are policyholders of Drake. Discussions are continuing."

Groupama this week acquired the £13m mainly corporate healthcare book from Iron Trades that was put up for sale by its Australian parent company QBE.

Personal lines director Stephen Albutt, added that Groupama was impressed by the success of the 'Xcess' web site product from health insurer WPI. In addition, Groupama's reinsurance industry Sorema has received Lloyd's approval to set up a new syndicate to begin trading on July 1.

Syndicate capacity will be provided by a new corporate vehicle – Broadgate Underwriting Limited – owned by Sorema with Chaucer Syndicates Limited acting as managing agent and providing regulatory and management services in accordance with Lloyd's requirements.

Most of Groupama's existing London market international property/casualty and treaty business will move to the new syndicate.

Patrick Gage will head up the syndicate as active underwriter.