A mutually exclusive proposition

Capital funding

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Europe's mutual insurance sector is on the defensive. By retaining profits and sharing them amongst policyholders, mutual insurers claim to provide customers with a better deal. With historical roots and deeply held social principles, they defend mutuality with almost religious zeal.

To convert from a mutual into a stock company is to take on the status of pariah, shunned by one's former peers who view the new stakeholders in the company with terminal suspicion. After all, the very raison d'e