Groupama is set to focus on the smaller businesses in the SME sector, according to new managing director François- Xavier Boisseau.

Boisseau, giving his first interview since taking the reins at Groupama a fortnight ago, said: "Motor is very profitable for us. Having said that we can't be as reliant on it as much as we are. We are interested in profitablility and sustainability and that means having a diversified book of business. The cycles will not disappear."

Boisseau said that small business would be increased, so that the motor book would account for around 60% of gross written premium.

"Last year we were hearing it was a thing of the past. The key is to have enough diversity to cope with different cycles."

Boisseau said that the acquisition of Churchill by Royal Bank of Scotland could have a beneficial effect on Groupama. "NIG has been very active in a segment of the market that we would like to be more active in.

"There has been much aggressive pricing in that area, maybe it will now stop."

He added that Groupama would attempt to differentiate itself by developing an automated pricing system that assessed risks on a case by case basis. "We have rating engines on pilot right now," he added.