News Column

Prudential doubles up

August 20, 2014

By Somruedi Banchongduang, Bangkok Post, Thailand

Aug. 20--Prudential Life Assurance Thailand's multi-partner model for bancassurance is paying off, more than doubling first-year premiums in the first half despite the political stalemate.

The British-based insurer recorded first-year premiums of 4.7 billion baht in the first half of the year, up from 1.9 billion, for 147.36% premium growth year-on-year, well above the industry's rate of 24%.

The insurer's market share doubled to 5.12% from 2.57%, lifting its ranking in the Thai life insurance market to seventh from 11th.

Binayak Dutta, chief executive, said the company's new clients increased by 115,000 for the first half of the year, a 157% year-on-year rise. It has around 2 million total customers and a capital adequacy ratio of 350%, above the Office of Insurance Commission's minimum requirement of 150%.

Prudential Life Assurance Thailand has three banking partners: Standard Chartered Bank (Thai) (SCBT), United Overseas Bank (Thai) (UOBT) and Thanachart Bank (TBank). The partners have 800 branches nationwide, with 630 belonging to TBank. The insurer signed 15-year bancassurance partnerships with SCBT and TBank and a 12-year deal with UOBT.

Bancassurance contributes 75% of total first-year premiums, while the remainder come from sales agents and direct marketing.

Mr Dutta said the recent acquisition of Thanachart Life Assurance also contributed to the robust growth.

Prudential Life Assurance Thailand completed a US$585 million buyout in Thanachart Life from TBank last year.

"With our three banking partners and low insurance penetration in Thailand compared to the total population, there are vast opportunities for business growth in the local market," he said, adding the Prudential Group is also seeking opportunities for business expansion in the region, including through acquisitions.

The international insurer is studying business expansion in Laos after opening a representative office in Myanmar. It is the market leader in bancassurance business in Vietnam after inking a collaboration with a local bank for a year.

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Source: Bangkok Post (Thailand)

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