London — Europe’s largest insurer, Allianz, is in the early stages of evaluating a variety of potential acquisition targets as deal-hungry CEO Oliver Baete scans the market for growth, people with knowledge of the matter said. Those on the list range from Switzerland’s Zurich Insurance Group and the UK’s RSA Insurance Group to Hartford Financial Services Group in the US or, going further afield, assets in China, they said. Allianz is working with a few advisers informally in exploring options, but deliberations are at an early stage and may not result in a deal, the people said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are confidential. A spokeswoman for the company said Allianz would consider acquisitions where the target is a fit on strategy, culture and price, with its board jointly taking the decisions. An abundance of capital and returns crimped by low interest rates have prompted rivals to turn to acquisitions, with France’s Axa beating out Allianz to seal a $15.2bn deal...

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