KUALA LUMPUR: Life insurer AIA Bhd sees a growth opportunity in Malaysia in takaful and investment-linked products, and intends to close the gap of average sum assured per person in the country.Chief Executive Officer Bill Lisle said the company's key focus is to close the protection gap to an average sum assured per person to at least RM200,000 from RM38,500.
"Our key focus is protecting the families, then obviously medical needs, we are there to provide it, retirement is becoming a global issue, and then takaful," he told reporters after announcing AIA's 2014 financial performance update here today.
He added that the company's latest result reaffirmed that it was on track and well-positioned to capture key opportunities in the country's life insurance industry.
AIA will step up its efforts to widen its distribution footprint through active recruitment of full-time life planners and by strengthening its bank partnerships, he said.
To date, it has 17,000 life planners in Malaysia and has an exclusive banccasurance partnership with Public Bank.
Its operating profit after tax rose by 12 per cent to RM1.02 billion for its financial year ended Nov 30, 2014, on its positive underlying business growth and improved product profitability.
The insurer also achieved strong growth across all its distribution channels with an overall increase of 34 per cent in value of new business for the year ended Nov 30, 2014.
The company paid out 4.2 million individual claims last year, while its market share stood at 17.3 per cent as at end-2014.
Lisle said AIA's total integration with ING Group's local insurance operations would happen on time by the middle of 2015 and within budget.
"We hope to complete the final stages, which is more on the IT systems and operations, in the next one or two months," he added.
Lisle said AIA does not intend to reprice its products with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from April 1.
"The company needs to understand the impact. We will not be repricing our products for the moment. We will continue the business as usual and we will monitor this as the year goes by," he added.
Life insurance is exempted from the GST but the premiums for non-life riders such as critical illness, medical and health, and personal accident will be subjected to the new tax.
Premiums for investment-linked policies would not attract GST but the fees and charges imposed on these policies such as policy fees will be subject to GST. - Bernama