GREAT Eastern Life Assurance (M) Bhd has announced a one-time special bonus to close to one million of its policyholders for the year 2004.
The special bonus, which would cost a total of RM60.2mil, would be given to some of the regular premium whole life and endowment policies bought on or before Dec 31, 2003, and which were still in force at the time it was declared, the company said in a statement yesterday.
The bonus would be given in addition to the usual annual reversionary and cash bonuses declared for participating life policies and might vary according to the year that the policy was purchased, the company added.
A company official contacted by StarBiz said the special bonus was a one-time, non-recurring payment and was the first such payment declared by the company although it had been paying regular annual bonuses to policyholders.
The official added that the move was in line Great Eastern's commitment to share its success with participating life policyholders.''
The official added that the traditional business, which among others included whole life and endowment and the investment-linked business, contributed equal share of the company's new business premiums.
The statement added that the bonus rates were declared based on the company's past operating and investment experience and its view of the future environment.
The special bonus is given to policies with healthy financial positions after considering the favourable experience for the past few years.
Other policies that did not contribute adequately to the fund surplus since policy inception would, however, continue to enjoy the regular bonuses,'' it added.
The statement said the rates for regular bonuses for this year would remain the same as in 2003 for policies of the same situation, considering the policy duration, attained age of the policyholder and policy term.
Great Eastern director and chief executive officer Alex Foong said life insurance was a long-term investment and protection of assets.
As the premier life insurer, the company has a responsibility to ensure that policyholders receive maximum returns on their investment and savings.
We appreciate the continuous support from our customers and will continue to pursue service excellence to meet rising customer expectations, he said.
The special bonus will be added to the policies that are entitled to it in the months of April and May.
Policyholders would be notified of the bonus amount via their annual bonus statements or notification letters, which would be sent by ordinary mail to the policyholders, the statement said.
Another insurance company that has declared a similar bonus was American International Assurance Co Ltd (AIA), which in July 1997 gave its more than 600,000 Malaysian policyholders a premium discount amounting to RM200mil, in its largest bonus payout in 12 years.
Each policyholder received a premium discount of between 8% and 10% over three to five years, depending on the term of their life insurance policies.
The company had previously made a bonus payment of RM60mil in 1985.
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