Sat, Feb 04, 2012 - Page 12 News List

French insurer AXA applies to open branch in Taiwan

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff Reporter

AXA Group, the world’s leading insurance firm and brand, yesterday confirmed it filed an application with local regulators last month to open a branch office in Taiwan.

The France-based insurance company, which has 214,000 staffers serving 95 million clients worldwide, aims to hire 300 employees and 5,000 distributors within five years, its preparatory office in Taipei said.

“Taiwan is one of the largest insurance markets in the world,” AXA Asia CEO Mike Bishop said in a statement. “Any company hoping to take the lead in the global insurance arena and in the rising Asian market would need to include Taiwan on its road map.”

AXA, also a global leader in asset management, submitted its application to the Financial Supervisory Commission on Jan. 16 after more than three years of market evaluation and strategic planning, the office said.

The study led the French headquarters to identify “now” as the best time to make its entrance and it has tapped insurance veteran Graeme Hannah to head the Taipei branch.

“While many foreign insurers have left Taiwan over the past three years, a good number of local banks, employees and consumers still want to work with global insurance companies,” Hannah said. “AXA recognizes this opportunity and desires to introduce more options to the Taiwanese people and businesses.”

The preparatory office is located in Xinyi District with a staff of 30.

AXA declined to give a timetable for the branch’s inauguration, saying it would respect the pace of the FSC’s review.

AXA has been discussing the license application with the commission for the past eight months, during which the regulator raised certain requirements and AXA has agreed to comply, the office said.

AXA Taiwan hopes to bring Taiwanese protection-type insurance policies along with a range of innovative products targeting underserved segments, besides saving policies, it said.

All are AXA’s strongest fields globally, but are less present locally, the French insurer said.

Regarding sales channels, AXA plans to establish multiple distribution channels gradually, from bancassurance, telemarketing to sales agents, it said.

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