ING Antai (ING安泰人壽), the nation's fourth-largest life insurer, announced yesterday it will upgrade its Taiwanese operations from a branch to a subsidiary company of the Hague-based ING Group, starting March 1.
The application for status upgrade obtained a green light from, the Financial Supervisory Commission last week, said Patrick Poon (潘燊昌), CEO for the Greater China Region and president and chairman of the ING Life Insurance Company of America, at an event in Taipei.
"This will mark a new start for ING Antai and shows our determination to further explore the Taiwanese market," Poon said. "After the changes, our risk management and financial conditions will remain unchanged. Our customers' rights and interests will not be affected."
ING Antai has been in Taiwan for 18 years. As part of the status upgrade, its assets, debts, operations and insurance policies will be transferred to the new company.
Chan Pi-yao (陳丕耀), the company's chief executive officer, said new insurance premiums collected last year amounted to NT$27.8 billion (US$867 million), up by 53 percent from NT$18.2 billion in 2004. Total premiums collected from its 3 million customers last year surpassed NT$100 billion.
Chan predicted that new premium revenues this year could reach NT$30 billion.
As interest rates remain low, Chan said operational strategies this year will focus on promoting investment-type insurance policies and retirement fund insurance.
In addition, Chan said this year the company will also further promote "participating policies," under which policyholders are eligible to receive dividends from the company's surplus.
But earning such a dividend depends on many variables such as expected return on investments, operating expenses and the cost of death benefits, he said.