,Hong Kong

Hong Kong's 30 largest insurance firms 2014

HK insurance industry gears up for new sector rules

For a country renowned for being a global financial leader, Hong Kong’s regulations on the country’s insurance industries have been falling behind for a substantial period of time. However, when the insurance regulatory legislation was drafted and finally introduced in 2014, it constituted a major paradigm shift for the industry. The new regime is one of the most significant changes to have taken place in decades, and with tighter licensing regulations clamping down on insurance activities, Hong Kong insurance companies are preparing themselves to face the serious challenge of adapting to the new rules of the industry’s playing field.

“With various economic challenges likely to continue in 2015, our aim is to serve our customers even more effectively with the strength of our underwriting capabilities and through enhanced distribution,” said Shaun Stanfield, chief underwriting officer for QBE Insurance – Asia Pacific.

This was demonstrated in last year’s successful launch of ‘QBE Qnect’, their newest online insurance platform that allows intermediaries to perform direct transactions, alongside ‘QBE Business Insurance Solutions’ (BIS), a new commercial insurance product developed for Hong Kong’s SME market.

Friends Provident International (FPI) saw a challenging, yet positive shift in the industry, and continued to strengthen their business operations by rolling out new regional administration platforms and building teams of experts based in Asia, creating bigger impact in the process.

“With the new insurance regulations… the industry is adjusting to a new operating field with new rules, and we will see a new landscape that will benefit customers, “said James Tan, FPI’s managing director for Asia. “Fortunately, FPI managed to build good traction last year and is entering 2015 with a strong proposition in place.” In September 2014, insurance company FWD Hong Kong & Macau continued to grow their online platforms and mobile apps, even opening a Shanghai representative office to tap into the mainland’s life insurance market.

David Wong, FWD’s CEO in Hong Kong & Macau and Executive Vice President in Greater China, is confident about what the new regime will bring. “We are supportive to the change and believe impact to the market is short-term.Indeed FWD was among the very few insurers that managed to offer revamped ILAS plans upon the new guidelines’ implementation on 1st January,” he shared.

Insurance company ACE Life, who has previously received the “Company of the Year – Insurance” award, among several others, is also optimistic about the potential for growth. “Our life insurance growth has been increasingly driven by our more flexible insurance and financial solutions... Another key element for sustained insurance growth is maintaining good governance in the industry,” said Allan Lam, ACE Life’s country president.

Despite the major changes, it is clear that the Hong Kong insurance industry is well-prepared for the impact – in fact, it is met not with dismay, but with anticipation.

Who made it to the top 30?

HSBC Life topped the Hong Kong Business’s ranking of largest insurance companies in the city according on their 2013 gross premiums. Data compiled from Office of the Commissioner of Insurance show that HSBC Life, classified as Life or Long Term Business – offering life insurance products – is ahead of its closest competitor AIA International by $1.66m.

AXA General has the highest total gross premiums amongst all the General - Direct & Reinsurance Inward Business companies and ranked fourteen overall. 

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