Fannie Mae has lined up the Swiss giant Zurich Insurance Group in its bid to lower force-placed premiums, increase competition and cut banks out of commissions on insuring its portfolio, four people familiar with the plan say.

Zurich, with a market value of $36 billion and experience in force-placed underwriting, is the anchor member in a consortium of insurers that Fannie Mae has lined up to write policies on its portfolio at 30% to 40% discounts to existing premiums, these people said.

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