Wed, Jan 19, 2011 - Page 12 News List

CARDIF Assurance set to expand in Taiwan

REST ASSURED:CARDIF leads the market in selling mortgage life insurance and is now seeking to raise its penetration rate from 15% to 40% within three years

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

CARDIF Assurance Vie’s Taiwan branch aims to expand its overall premiums by 20 percent this year as the rebounding economy and appetite for risk are likely to boost sales of protection and investment-linked insurance products, a top company executive said yesterday.

The French insurance company, which relies on a bank sales channel to sell products, expects gross written premiums to reach NT$48 billion (US$1.64 billion) this year, from NT$40 billion last year, on improving sales of mortgage life insurance and structured notes, said Ruth Wu (吳澔如), recently-installed general manager in Taipei.

“We’re confident about achieving that goal as long as Taiwan’s economy continues to grow,” Wu said by telephone.

The insurance firm takes a positive view, expecting GDP expansion of about 4.5 percent this year as forecast by different research institutes.

Against this backdrop, structured insurance policies and other unit-linked products will regain popularity among investors, said Wu, whose company issued a structured insurance product in October and last month, and plans to launch six more this year.

“Our business strategy is simple,” she said. “For people with deposits in banks, we can sell them investment-linked products. For those with loans, we can promote protection policies.”

Consistent with this planned expansion, the company will increase its staff from the current 115, but Wu declined to give a number, saying partnership with local banks allows the branch to keep a small sales team.

CARDIF Taiwan cooperates with Taishin International Bank (台新銀行), Chinatrust Commercial Bank (中國信託商銀) and Ta Chong Bank (大眾銀行) in selling unit-linked policies and counts on Chang Hwa Commercial Bank (彰化銀行), Hua Nan Commercial Bank (華南銀行) and Shanghai Commercial & Savings Bank (上海商銀) to promote mortgage life insurance, among other partners.

Wu said her company leads the market in selling mortgage life insurance and will continue to focus on its products, raising its penetration rate from the current 15 percent to 40 percent within three years.

“That should not be untenable given the penetration rate of 70 percent in France,” Wu said.

She added that the creation early last year of BNP Paribas Assurance TCB Life Insurance Co (合作金庫人壽), a joint venture between its parent BNP Paribas Assurance and Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合庫), did not weaken the branch’s revenue as evidenced by a 33-percent growth in overall premiums last year from a year earlier.

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