Taiwan is the No. 1 market in Asia, BNP Paribas Cardif chief says

REINVENTION::The firm is to adopt a multichannel approach next year as new technology is changing the concept of bancassurance, Jean Bertrand Laroche said

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Nov 24, 2018 - Page 12

Cardif Assurance Taiwan, which celebrated the 20th anniversary of its founding on Wednesday, remains confident about business growth as the nation’s high savings rates suggest the need for investment tools and credit protection, company officials said.

“Taiwan is our No. 1 market in Asia, with outstanding performance and great potential, thanks to positive wealth growth and the trust of partners,” BNP Paribas Cardif chief operating officer Jean Bertrand Laroche said in Taipei on Thursday.

Cardif Taiwan topped its overseas peers in sales of unit-linked products in the first three quarters as interest rate increases by the US Federal Reserve bolstered appetite for foreign-currency investment products, said Laroche, who helped set up the local branch in 1998.

First-year premiums totaled NT$484.58 billion (US$15.68 billion) industry-wide for foreign-currency insurance policies as of September, an increase of 26.49 percent from the same period last year, government data showed.

Unit-linked policies soared 73 percent to NT$201.4 billion, while protection-type policies grew a modest 6 percent to NT$283.19 billion, the data showed.

Wealth tends to grow hand-in-hand with economic performance and the high savings rate in Taiwan makes it an ideal market for savings products, Laroche said.

Taiwan ranks first worldwide for insurance premiums against GDP.

Cardif Taiwan sells products to local customers via the sales channels of 20 local banks, as it does not have its own sales network.

The bancassurance model is a win-win for the French insurer and local lenders, allowing both sides to sell extra products at reduced costs, Laroche said.

Local customers are also beneficiaries as they have more options when deciding on plans to protect their assets and family, he said.

The model has proved a success as evidenced by Cardif Taiwan’s gross written premiums which rose 37 percent to NT$68 billion last year, company data showed.

Dynamism might sustain this year though at a slower pace, company officials said.

Cardif Taiwan is to adopt a multichannel approach from next year as the rise of new technology is reshaping the concept of bancassurance in the digital era, Laroche said.

“In the West, 70 percent of people don’t visit banks nowadays and they are the richest,” Laroche said.

It is a reality that demands attention and reinvention on the part of Cardif Assurance and its partners, as people favor customized experiences, and decide where and when they want to transact, he said.

“We are working out new platforms that can bring better products and services to the local market,” Laroche said.