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HSBC makes another move in insurance, launching life insurance in Taiwan


HSBC has launched its insurance operations in Taiwan, officially opening HSBC Life (International) Limited in Taiwan as a full-fledged insurance provider after receiving a licence from the Financial Supervisory Commission in August this year. This is another major leap forward on insurance for HSBC, with four insurance initiatives announced in Asia all within the space of a month.

David Fried, Regional Head of Insurance, Asia-Pacific for The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, said: "Developing an income stream in insurance is one of the top priorities for the HSBC Group. In addition to today’s opening in Taiwan, we have earlier announced our agreement to form a joint insurance company with two of India’s largest state-owned banks, Canara Bank and Oriental Bank of Commerce. We also announced two weeks ago our intentions to acquire a 10 per cent stake in Vietnam Insurance Corporation (Bao Viet) to become the sole foreign strategic partner of Vietnam’s leading insurer. Today, we also announced that we have received approval from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission to form a joint venture insurance company in China with Beijing based strategic partner National Trust Limited.

“We are extending our footprint at full speed across the region, which is the largest insurance contributor, accounting for 33 per cent of the Group’s insurance profitability. With our developments in Asia, we are well on our way to achieving our goal of doubling the contribution from insurance to Group earnings and becoming a top 10 global player.”

Currently among the top 20 insurers globally, HSBC’s insurance business posted US$1.6 billion in pre-tax profit in the first half of 2007, contributing 11 per cent to HSBC Group earnings.

John Holden, Managing Director of HSBC Insurance in Taiwan, said: “With aging becoming the most critical issue we face today, coupled with the change in demographics, people’s need for protection and support in their children’s education, their own health and well-being as well as retirement planning are increasing in leaps and bounds. Statistics1 show that the average-sum-assured in Taiwan is only NT$1.28 million, low compared to the NT$2.16 million in Japan and NT$5.08 million in the US. This provides a huge growth potential – an opportunity we intend to grasp by extending our bancassurance expertise to reach out to Taiwan’s growing insurance market. We are delighted to enter Taiwan’s life insurance market to offer family protection, long-term savings and retirement solutions.”

With the launch of its life insurance arm in Taiwan, HSBC will extend the wealth management proposition it currently offers through its Bank’s branches across Taiwan. Adopting the successful bancassurance model the Group has developed in other markets, HSBC’s customers in Taiwan will now have the convenience of arranging all their banking, investment and insurance needs in one place, attaining a holistic view of their total financial position.

To celebrate the launch, HSBC Insurance also joined hands with the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families and issued the first eight policies to underprivileged children aged three to five years. The plans, sponsored by HSBC, will support the recipients’ college education in later years.


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