Plus ça change but will it be the même chose?

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Speculation of a sale had of course been raging for months beforehand.

The question of why the process has taken quite so long - and indeed the announcement was of four weeks of exclusive talks rather than a deal - is just one that is still to be answered.

However the overwhelming reaction from brokers has been one of relief.

The French-owned insurer has been in limbo for too many months and while brokers were initially supportive there is no doubt that the pressure was, and still is, on the pro