Posted on Jul 26, 2010 by Sergio Ulloa
MetLife announces the opening of its third Provincial branch in Sichuan. The unveiling of the new Sichuan branch is the first since United Metlife disclosed its plans to merge with Sino-US MetLife insurance business.
The planned merger between United MetLife and its Sino-US MetLife Insurance Company Limited is the first sign that MetLife is preparing for the two MetLife subsidiary's to amalgamate; this follows the announcement by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) that foreign investors should only have one insurance operation on the mainland.
The Beijing based Sino-US MetLife insurance subsidiary planned merger with the Shanghai based United MetLife - creating Sino-US United MetLife Insurance - will ensure that MetLife follows the Chinese Authorities guidelines for foreign insurance investors in China.
In order for MetLife to meet its obligations - to become a single operating insurance provider in China - requires Capital Airport Holding to sell its 50% stake in Sino-US MetLife to Shanghai Alliance Investment which is MetLife's JV partner in United MetLife.
Mr Marks, head of the Asia-Pacific region for MetLife said "China is a key strategic market for MetLife. By having a single partner across the country we can create a stronger brand and portfolio of offerings for the market. This will allow us to accelerate growth and in turn provide increased value to our customers."
The opening of the new branch in the Sichuan province - together with the Chongqing branch - means MetLife continues to build the foundations in second-tier cities in western China, expanding its presence in the country; this has been a key focus for MetLife in recent years.
Sino-US MetLife Insurance Company Limited provides life, accident and health insurance to individuals in Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Sheyang and Dalian. While United MetLife Insurance Company Limited offers life and accidental insurance products in Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Ningbo and Wuxi.
The announcement of the Sichuan province branch comes at a time for MetLife when foreign investors in China, aim to strengthen their presence in this prosperous country. The growing demand for insurance products - to cover accident and health in China - is a key revenue stream for MetLife since they acquired the American Life Insurance Company.
The Asian insurance industry - especially China - has been transformed in recent years, with foreign investors competing for a percentage of this profitable market. MetLife's activities in China was estimated to generated Yuan 3 billion (US$442 billion) in 2009 - a figure accounting for less than 1% of the Chinese insurance market.
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Possessing over 140 years of insurance expertise, MetLife aims to be an innovator in the field of international Life insurance. Globally, MetLife is able to offer its clients accident and health insurance, life insurance, disability income protection, and retirement and savings products.