Posted on Aug 17, 2010 by Sergio Ulloa
AIA Group Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Wei, recently communicated that Asia is the global leader in terms of growth in the life insurance market. According to figures released by Mr. Wei, the annual growth rate of life insurance premiums in Asia is 17 percent, compared to 11.6 percent in Europe and 4.9 percent in North America. These figures were shared with the Financial Services Council of Australia in a conference in the city of Melbourne.
According to Mr. Wei, while the continent may be leading the global market there is still room for growth in the life insurance market in Asia, since it stands at approximately 35.3 percent of the size of the market in Europe. The life insurance market in Asia is estimated to be worth US$358 million (EUR 279 million), whilst in Europe, it amounts to an estimated US$1,015 billion (EUR 791 billion).
Sounding a word of caution, Mr. Wei emphasised that in order for companies to be successful in Asia, they must understand the cultural differences and the traditions followed in conducting business. Citing some examples, Mr. Wei mentioned that "In the Philippines to talk to somebody about insurance is seen as a jinx, as they believe the event will happen if they take out a policy."
Likewise, the type of cover sought after by people in other Asian countries varies: In Hong Kong, critical illness insurance is in higher demand, whilst people in Thailand are more interested in savings and accident cover. People in Korea give preference to cancer cover, as they believe that every time a soap opera star disappears from TV is due to the fact that they have died of cancer.
As such, Mr. Wei stressed the need for companies to be able to offer product diversity that matches the demographics and different needs of people in Asian countries.
Closing on his impressions of the life insurance market in Asia, Mr. Wei concluded by saying that "Asia is a compelling story which consists of both emerging and mature markets. While Hong Kong and Singapore are mature markets, there are still opportunities in other Asian countries with low insurance take-up."
Insurance Company mentioned:
The AIA Group is a leading life insurance organization in Asia Pacific that traces its roots in the region back more than 90 years. It provides individuals and businesses with products and services for life insurance, retirement planning, accident and health insurance as well as wealth management solutions. Through an extensive network of 320,000 agents and approximately 23,500 employees across 15 geographical markets, the AIA Group serves customers of over 23 million in-force policies in the region.