Life insurers move chess pieces to snap up fresh partnerships

December 11, 2021 | 11:48
Life insurers are competing for a larger share of Vietnam’s thriving insurance business, as seen by the ambitions to expand their footprint and form alliances with commercial banks in the country.
Life insurers move chess pieces to snap up fresh partnerships
Bancassurance partnerships are helping to ensure that establishments can meet growing needs , photo Le Toan

Hanwha Life Vietnam and Vietbank announced a long-term collaboration in late October to cross-sell life insurance throughout the latter’s 122 branches and transaction offices to provide consumers with comprehensive financial solutions.

Hanwha Life Vietnam had previously partnered with South Korean lender Woori Bank, but this agreement with Vietbank has signified the insurer’s official entry into the bancassurance landscape. Before reaching a long-term agreement with Hanwha Life Vietnam, Vietbank cooperated with Prudential and a handful of other partners.

Im Dong Jun, general director of Hanwha Life Vietnam, said that the collaboration between Hanwha Life Vietnam and Vietbank illustrates the South Korean financial group’s dedication to “providing customer-oriented solutions”.

“We expect that this collaboration will result in better and more seamless consumer experiences, as well as contribute to the growth of comprehensive financial services in Vietnam. Hanwha Life Vietnam’s involvement will provide a tremendous chance while also better meeting customers’ ever-evolving demands,” he stressed.

On the same note, HDBank and Dai-ichi Life Vietnam are allegedly renegotiating a long-term exclusive bancassurance arrangement.

According to the parties’ official release, Dai-ichi Life Vietnam inked a 10-year exclusive collaboration agreement with HDBank, which began in 2015. Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, standing vice chairwoman of HDBank’s board of directors, stated at its most recent AGM that the bank examined the contract in the fourth quarter of 2020.

According to SSI Research, the prepayment fees were relatively low at the time of the signing compared to other exclusive bancassurance accords. The two parties may examine and renegotiate critical provisions. This step may allow HDBank to collaborate with other insurance providers and expand its product range, thus opening the door to another exclusive bancassurance contract.

“The pan-Asian insurer FWD, on the other hand, has been rumoured to be the potential candidate for HDBank’s bancassurance deal in the south of Vietnam,” an industry insider told VIR. “Dai-ichi Life could be the exclusive partner for HDBank’s bancassurance in the North market.”

Elsewhere, AIA Vietnam, one of the leading life insurance brands in the country, is deploying multi-channel product distribution in parallel with development of technology and digital apps.

“Currently, bancassurance is a well-developed distribution channel, so in addition to expanding partnerships with partners, we are working with Vietnamese commercial lender VPBank, an exclusive partner for 15 years, to approach customers and provide interesting opportunities that meet their growing demand,” said Ngo Phuong Anh, chief investment officer at AIA Vietnam.

Last year, VietinBank and Manulife entered an agreement to establish an exclusive 16-year bancassurance partnership to better meet the growing financial and insurance needs of Vietnamese people.

Manulife Vietnam is the exclusive provider of bancassurance solutions to VietinBank customers in Vietnam soon after regulatory approval is obtained. As part of the transaction, Manulife Financial Asia Ltd. will also acquire insurance firm Aviva Vietnam.

However, Manulife’s acquisition of Aviva has not yet been approved, so VietinBank has not recorded an upfront fee of the bancassurance contract. Bao Viet Securities expects it to be authorised soon, enabling VietinBank to begin recording payments in 2022. If VietinBank allocates the upfront fee over four years, the recorded fee in 2022 should be around $60.9 million.

ACB’s service fee income would climb by 54.2 per cent in 2021, compared to a 10.6 per cent reduction in 2020, owing to an exclusive bancassurance deal with Sun Life Vietnam, with expected prepaid fees of $370 million spread equally over 15 years.

According to preliminary estimates from the Vietnam Insurance Association, new income from the agency channel was expected to have exceeded $82.6 million in September, while new fee revenues from the bancassurance channel are expected to have exceeded $47.8 million.

The agency channel earned more than $891 million in new fee income in the first nine months of 2021, while the banking channel generated more than $600 million.

In the first nine months of 2021, Manulife, Prudential, Dai-ichi Life, MB Ageas Life, and Sun Life maintained a strong growth rate of new premium revenues thanks to their close-knit collaboration with key financial institutions.

By Luu Huong

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional