The Co-operative Group is considering selling off its £18 billion life insurance business, according to reports.
Co-operative Financial Services, the £76 billion financial division of the Co-op, has asked Deutsche Bank to generate interest in the business.
Legal & General, Resolution, Royal London and Aviva, have all been highlighted as potential buyers.
The move to sell the life insurance arm of CFS, which in total has £18 billion of assets, is said to be part of a strategic review by boss Neville Richardson.
CFS employs more than 600 sales staff and offers products including investment funds, pensions and protection insurance such as health cover.
The Co-operative Asset Management and the Co-op’s general insurance operations will not be put up for sale under Mr Richardon’s proposals, it was reported.
The move follows the merger of the Co-op’s financial division with the Staffordshire-based Britannia building society in January 2009.
CFS posted a 50 per cent increase in profits to £75 million in the first half of the year, but the insurance business has not fared as well. A survey by the Co-operative Insurance Society revealed a 50 per cent drop in pre-tax profits to £25 million year-on-year in 2009.
The Co-operative Group recently merged its travel arm with holiday giant Thomas Cook, in a move that is likely to result in job losses and generate a saving of £35 million.