Hong Leong Assurance Bhd (HLA) expects its new JuniorCare child insurance protection plan to start a round of competition in the local child insurance market valued at about RM1.4bil, said HLA chief operating officer Laurence Lim.
Lim sees competitors attempting to emulate JuniorCare, which he says is the first of its kind in the child insurance market.
We do not see it as a threat. We expect the child insurance products of our competitors will be another 'me-too' product, he told StarBiz in an interview.
Lim said that being a niche product, JuniorCare was not out to compete with education insurance products. Rather, he said, JuniorCare was created to bridge the gap between education and protection plans.
Currently, the child market is more focused on education and less on protection. JuniorCare will further complement the company's range of insurance plans for children, he said.
Targeted at parents with new-born child to those aged 15 years, JuniorCare has seven coverage areas: hospitalisation, 36 critical illnesses, total and permanent disability, accidental disablement, accidental death, natural death and maturity at age 25.
Lim has projected securing 30,000 new JuniorCare policies within the first three months of its launch early last week and bring in RM30mil in annualised premiums this year.
He said the company would take advantage of its existing 60,000 life policies in the education segment and 45,000 Junior Savers accounts at Hong Leong Bank.
He is confident that HLA would be able to increase its share of the local child insurance market from 20% last year to 30% this year, mainly attributed to the innovative JuniorCare plan, its strong distribution channels (agencies and bancassurance) and a steady flow of child insurance policy holders.
HLA has three child insurance products: BodyGuard Junior (a 2-in-1 product offering personal accident and health insurance), Venture Education (an investment and protection plan with juvenile illnesses coverage) and e-Kids (an endowment product).
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