ZURICH : Swiss Life and Valiant are discussing a distribution partnership, which may include the insurer taking a stake in the bank. The tie-up would be a return to the banc assurance model once pursued by rivals such as Zurich Insurance and Winterthur, in which an insurer sells its products to a bank’s clients. Under such partnerships insurance companies can expand their customer bases without increasing their sales forces or paying commissions to agents, while banks can earn additional revenue by selling insurance products.

Swiss Life declined to comment on the report, while Valiant, a collection of Swiss regional banks, was not immediately available.

Zurich-based Swiss Life has seen mixed success with past cooperations, such as German AWD, a retail unit it bought for 1.2 billion euros (1 billion pounds).

AWD was beset with problems, including client advisors exiting, to claims it improperly pushed products in Germany and Austria, a charge AWD denies. Earlier this year, Swiss Life rebranded the business as Swiss Life Select.

Last month, Valiant announced the surprise exit of Chief Executive Michael Hobmeir with near-immediate effect for undisclosed reasons.