Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Strong capital foundation with new RBC

By Habhajan Singh
The implementation of the Risk-Based Capital Framework for Insurers (RBC) on Jan 1, 2009, completed an "important component" of the overall objective towards ensuring a strong capital foundation for the financial sector, the central bank said.
In its annual report for 2008, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) noted that the RBC provides for capital assessments that are more aligned to the specific risk profiles of individual insurers and is reflective of market consistent valuations.
"After a parallel run of almost two years during which the framework underwent several refinements to enhance its integrity, legislative changes were approved to bring the framework into effect," it said in its recently-released Financial Stability and Payment Systems Report 2008. The framework replaces the previous margin of solvency regime.
"A key objective of RBC is to ensure that prudential buffers reflect the underlying risk profiles of individual insurers. To achieve this, the RBC requires more explicit quantification of the various risks inherent in the insurance business," it said.
Under the RBC, the central bank noted that capital adequacy requirements are more granular and risksensitive compared to the previous solvency regime, which did not differentiate between the nature and sources of risk. Providing an example, it said insurers whose asset portfolios are concentrated in high-risk assets or assets that are inadequately matched with the corresponding liabilities will be required to hold more capital under the RBC compared to the previous solvency regime.
Similarly, insurers who underwrite volatile lines of business or are highly concentrated in a single line of business will be required to hold more capital than insurers with diversified portfolios of relatively stable lines of business.
In an interview with The Malaysian Reserve last month, then-president of Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) Ng Lian Lu said, there was never a doubt that the transition to the new RBC regime would be smooth as companies have conducted parallel runs for two years and all teething problems have been addressed prior to the implementation of the new framework.
The central bank also noted that since the implementation of the framework, further adjustments have been necessary to address the impact of market interest rates used in the valuation standards moving significantly out of line with historical norms. Neighbouring Singapore went into the RBC mode some years ago.
In a statement dated Aug 25, 2004, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced an RBC for insurers in Singapore. In conjunction with the new framework, its regulator said the RBC aims to put in place a more transparent and risk-focused capital and valuation basis that reflects all major financial risks of insurers. It was developed in close consultation with insurance practitioners, and the actuarial and accounting professions, it said.
MAS also issued two consultation papers to discuss how the RBC and regulations will be integrated into the Insurance Act. The shift from a one-size fits all approach will also encourage insurance companies in Singapore to manage their financial risks more actively and raise overall prudential standards, it added.
Meanwhile, in its report, BNM said that the insurance and takaful sectors — while recording a stronger solvency position of RM16.6 billion compared to RM11.7 billion the year before, and attaining a capital adequacy ratio of 187.6%, which is well above the minimum requirement of 100% (2007: 158.4%) — faced challenges in maintaining the growth in premiums and contributions from new businesses amidst strong competition in the industry.
It said total net premium and contribution income of this industry grew by 2.4%, attributed mainly to the expansion in the market share of takaful business. At the same time, the growth of 5.5% in the general insurance and takaful sectors was driven mainly by the expansion in the fire segment while the modest growth of 1% in the life and family takaful sectors were a result of the weaker demand in investment linked business.
Nevertheless, it noted that the operating profit of the general insurance and takaful business declined by 44.5% to RM0.7 billion, mainly due to unrealised losses and deterioration in the motor insurance portfolio, as reflected in the higher claims ratio of 84.2%. - The Malaysian Reserve, p32, Apr 1, 2009

(This story appeared in The Malaysian Reserve on Mar 30, 2009. The Malaysian Reserve is a daily business/finance newspaper published out of Kuala Lumpur, with a sectoral page on insurance & takaful called UNDERWRITER, appearing on alternate Wednesdays, edited by Habhajan Singh.)

Kurnia on the lookout for 1,000 new agents

By Lee Cherng Wee
Kurnia Insurans (Malaysia) Bhd aims to hire 1,000 insurance agents as it embarks on new initiatives and diversification. Kurnia's general manager for agency distribution channel Pang Yoke Nam said Kurnia currently has 6,500 agents and is aiming to hire another 1,000 agents starting the next financial year in July.
"It is very critical to add new blood. We have 30 branches nationwide that conduct business opportunity seminars monthly to recruit new agents.
"This line offers a good career, requires low capital and you will not be out of job," he said in an interview with The Malaysian Reserve recently.
With four million policyholders nationwide, Kurnia is the largest general insurer for five consecutive years, controlling a market share of 14.6% based on net written premium. Pang said Kurnia is looking to build long-term relationships and create win-win partnerships with its agents. "We want to make sure that the agents are growing and see how to help them grow their business.
"We conduct seminars to upgrade their technical knowledge and help them to be more professional," he said.
In recognition of its agents' contributions, Kurnia, like most local insurers, holds an annual convention to honour its top selling agents. Pang noted that Kurnia has 150 agents with annual sales above RM1 million.
"The convention is also a platform to communicate with agents on the company's direction and messages from the CEO. We invite renowned motivators to speak during the convention," he added. Moving forward, Kurnia will be its launching new product, Compensation for Assessed Repair Time (CART), on April 15. CART is an extension of the comprehensive motor policy, which provides compensation to policyholder for the number of days the car is being repaired at the workshop according to the loss adjustor's assessment. "We will subsidise customer's travelling expenses when their car is under repair," he said.
Apart from CART, Kurnia has introduced several value added services to improve customer service such as Kurnia Auto Assist and Kurnia Express Service. Under Kurnia Auto Assist, the insurance company has eight personnel riding on motorcycles around the Klang Valley to assist customers whose cars break down.
Meanwhile, under Kurnia Express Service, customers can drive their damaged cars to Kurnia's branch office for small claims of less than RM3,000. Pang said claims are assessed and processed within one hour.
Meanwhile, in anticipation of slower car sales, Kurnia is growing its non-motor insurance business to reduce reliance on its motor insurance segment.
"We still want to maintain our share in the motor segment. But the growth from motor may not be that impressive. "Growth will come from the nonmotor side. We want to grow our non-motor business in an aggressive mode," said Pang.
Currently, motor insurance contributes 84% of Kurnia's income while its non-motor business accounts for 15%. The market leader in motor insurance aims to place greater focus on non-motor insurance products such as fire, property, freight and cargo. The Kurnia management team is headed by Captain K H Chia as its managing director. - The Malaysian Reserve, p32, Apr 1, 2009

Policy brief on MENA insurance sector

DUBAI: The Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance (Hawkamah) and the Arab Forum of Insurance Regulatory Commissions (AFIRC) announced on Mar 22 the release of the policy brief on corporate governance for the insurance industry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
It hopes the recommendations contained in the policy brief will form the basis for creating a minimum standard for the MENA insurance sector as agreed upon by the region's insurance industry regulators.
The policy brief concluded that insurance companies operating in the MENA region have varied strengths and currently face significant challenges in view of the ongoing global financial crisis, the two organisations said in a press release.
"The strengths include recognition of the importance of the role of the financial services sector, of maintaining a strong reputation and financials, and of making a contribution to the community. Many institutions have demonstrated their commitment to accountability, transparency, and fulfilling obligations to their stakeholders and policyholders," it said.
Concurrently, it noted that many companies face challenges in achieving proper corporate governance as defined by leading international professional and regulatory agencies.
"Such challenges also exist in most other regulated markets and are often based on accepted practices within those markets," it said.
The actionable items outlined by the brief include committing to good corporate governance; good board practices; adopting and maintaining minimum levels of transparency and disclosure; ensuring an effective control environment; and protection of policyholders and shareholders rights.
Dr Nasser Saidi, board member of Hawkamah, said the lack of good corporate governance contributed to the current global financial crisis, which has affected the insurance industry.
"The need for the global insurance industry to implement sound corporate governance practices is all the more pressing in view of the crisis. This is particularly so in the MENA region, where the insurance industry, both conventional and Islamic, has been underdeveloped, but is now growing fast.
"Within the MENA region, the rapid rise of Shariah-compliant insurance and re-insurance provides an additional incentive for strong standards to be quickly developed," he said.
Dr Bassel Hindawi, director general of the Insurance Commission of Jordan and chairman of AFIRC said commitment to corporate governance standards will reflect positively on the management of the insurance companies, by efficient use of its resources, improve market competitiveness, and strengthening the stability of financial markets." - The Malaysian Reserve, p32, Apr 1, 2009

CAPTION: Shaping policy for MENA press conference was attended by (from right to left) Dr Saidi, Dr Hindawi and Mark Dempsey who is the country director for Jordan and Middle East pepresentative.

Singapore insurance policy bonus set to fall

In view of the global financial crisis and economic recession, policyholders of participating life insurance policies (popularly known as par policies) can expect non-guaranteed benefits, in the form of bonuses, to be revised downwards for 2008 and into the future, said Singapore's Life Insurance Association (LIA).
These bonus changes are needed due to the poor investment climate in 2008, it added in a recent statement. It said par policies offer both protection and savings through a combination of guaranteed benefits and non-guaranteed benefits in the form of bonuses. Bonuses are determined based on the performance of the par funds.
Like many other financial products and investments, par funds have not been spared from the brunt of the recent financial market meltdown.
The bonuses for par policies in 2008 are therefore expected to be lower than those declared in preceding years.
LIA president Darren Thomson said despite an extremely turbulent past year, all life insurers have been able to maintain the solvency of their par funds. "We remain able to continue to allocate bonuses to par policyholders, albeit at a lower level." - The Malaysian Reserve, p32, Apr 1, 2009

ING Insurance lowers new premiums

By T Vignesh
ING Insurance Bhd, has lowered its new premiums target to RM830 million in 2009 compared to RM870 million recorded last year.
CEO and president of ING Insurance Bhd Datuk Dr Nirmala Menon said the company has lowered the target due to the tight economic outlook.
"Due to the recession, the amount of money put into a policy may decrease, but the number of policies being sold may increase," she told reporters after the launch of ING's new product — INGeasi for family in Kuala Lumpur on Mar 31.
On the new product, she said it combined varying protection, health, education and investment needs of every member of the family. ING expects to sell between RM50 million and RM60 million of the new product.
Chief financial officer and chief risk officer Anusha Thavarajah who was also present said that INGeasi for family is timely with the current financial climate where it is imperative for families especially to have some form of financial protection at these uncertain times.
She said INGeasi for family is designed to take care of the family income needs with a maintenance fund payment given to the family in the event the breadwinner is no longer able to provide due to unforeseen circumstances.
"With this, the family can have the peace of mind knowing well that they will be financial protected and their lifestyles continue to be safeguarded," she added. For the breadwinner of the house, the plan comprehensively provides protection and health coverage besides education and investment options for their immediate family.
Anusha said in the event that the breadwinner is no longer able to provide, the plan offers them special income protection, which provides monthly income replacement for up to five years. She said for spouses, INGeasi for family offers personalised life protection and this includes critical illnesses and accidental coverage.
In the event of death, total permanent disability or critical illness, a monthly income replacement for up to five years is again provided to the family. Anusha said for children, the plan makes it simpler by providing for education savings to help parents to fulfill their children's educational potential.
In addition, all future premiums for the plan will be waived if the payor is diagnosed with critical illness. "On top of protection and savings, INGeasi for family provides the flexibility to choose from eight different combinations of local and global unit-linked investment funds to suit families changing needs at different stages of their lives and risk levels," she added. - The Malaysian Reserve, p9, Apr 1, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

Insurance, takaful industry had a difficult 2008, says BNM

By Bhupinder Singh
The insurance and takaful industry came out of a difficult year in 2008, with the industry struggling to maintain premiums and contributions from new businesses amidst strong competition in the industry.
This could be seen from the latest figures released by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) in its annual report released concurently with the central bank's Financial Stability and Payment Systems 2008 report.
The figures show that the operating profit of the general insurance and takaful business declined by 44.5% to RM0.7 billion [CORRECTED] mainly due to unrealised losses and deterioration in the motor insurance portfolio as reflected in the higher claims ratio of 84.2% last year as compared to 79.6% in 2007.
Total net premium and contribution income of the industry grew by 2.4% attributed mainly to the expansion in the market share of takaful business.
The general insurance and takaful sectors grew by 5.5 % last year mainly driven by an expansion in the fire segment while the life and family takaful sectors expanded by a modest 1% due to weaker demand in investment linked business. The industry, as a whole, recorded a stronger solvency position of RM16.6 billion for the year as compared to RM11.7 billion previously while the capital adequacy ratio stood at 187.6%, well above the minimum requirement of 100%.
BNM's efforts to strengthen the solvency position of the insurance sector made significant progress with the implementation of the Risk-Based Capital (RBC) framework on January 1, 2009.
The framework provides a strong capital foundation for insurance companies to operate at different risk levels that commensurate with the insurers' risk management capabilities. A similar framework was laid for takaful operators last year. The central bank expects the industry on the whole to remain resilient based on stress tests conducted despite results showing that the profitability and capitalisation of some industry players may be impacted under more adverse scenarios.
In an effort to safeguard the stability of the domestic financial sector, BNM has extended a safety net to the insurance and takaful sectors by allowing them to access the bank's ringgit liquidity facility.
BNM also continues to pursue consolidation and rationalisation exercises to address the fragmentation especially in the general insurance sector.
The central bank has revealed that a review for the further liberalisation of the operating costs control guidelines that would allow for greater cost synergies and product innovation in the sector were at an advanced stage.
It has relaxed guidelines on the utilisation of bancassurance as a key distribution channel for insurance companies to further enhance profitability and increase insurance penetration in the country.

(This story appeared in The Malaysian Reserve on Mar 31 2009. The Malaysian Reserve is a daily business/finance newspaper published out of Kuala Lumpur, with a sectoral page on insurance & takaful called UNDERWRITER, appearing on alternate Wednesdays, edited by Habhajan Singh.)

MCIS Zurich CEO appointed LIAM president

MCIS Zurich Insurance Bhd chief executive officer Md Adnan Md Zain has been elected at the president of Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) at its 35th annual general meeting (AGM) on March 25, taking over the helm of the industry body from Am-Life Insurance Bhd CEO Ng Lian Lu.
Ooi Say Teng (picture, left), their counterpart at Uni.Asia Life Assurance Bhd, was elected as the vice president.
The two top positions at LIAM are elected at every AGM with the maximum term in office of the president being three consecutive years.
Adnan, who began his career in the banking industry with Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) in 1981, headed the bank's key regional corporate banking project based in Hong Kong from 1990 until 1992.
He was the head of global electronic banking, reporting directly to the group head office in London, prior to leaving SCB in 1995. He subsequently held various key management positions within the banking industry, including being the acting CEO of Alliance Merchant Bank in 2003, before going to MCIS Zurich in April 2005 as its deputy CEO and subsequently being appointed as CEO in February 2006.
Md Adnan sits on the boards of the Malaysian Insurance Institute and Malaysian Life Reinsurance Group Bhd.
Ooi, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Actuarial Science from the City University, London, in 1993, has about 26 years of experience in the insurance industry, LIAM said in a statement.
Prior to joining Uni.Asia Life as its CEO in January 2003, he was the assistant general manager of Mayban Life Assurance Bhd from January 2000 to December 2002, and deputy general manager of MBA Life (now known as Allianz Life Insurance Bhd) from 1996 to 1999. Ooi started his career with MCIS Insurance (now known as MCIS Zurich) in 1983 as an actuarial officer. He is a director at Malaysian Life Reinsurance Group Bhd. -- The Malaysian Reserve (Mar 31, 2009)

Moody's cuts ratings on Prudential PLC's UK insurance unit

Moody's Investors Service cut its credit ratings on Prudential PLC's (PUK) main U.K. insurance business, Prudential Assurance Co., because of lower solvency surplus levels in 2008 as well as the global economic downturn in the fourth quarter, reports Dow Jones.
The solvency surplus levels fell because significant declines in equity values and government-bond yields, as well as increasing stock volatility. Moody's expects the surpluses to remain vulnerable to stock market declines and volatility this year despite the company's hedging strategy. About 40% of Prudential Assurance's business investments were in equity securities and portfolio holdings in unit trusts at the end of 2008, the newswire said.
Another reason for the downgrade was Prudential's focus on higher-margin products despite its increased market share in 2008 and retail business growth of 10%. Despite the downgrade, Senior Credit Officer Dominic Simpson said Prudential Assurance has one of the financially strongest life funds in the U.K, it added.

Kurnia to diversify and grow non-motor segment

KURNIA Insurans (Malaysia) Bhd plans to grow its non-motor insurance business to reduce reliance on its motor insurance segment in anticipation of slower car sales.
"We still want to maintain our share in the motor segment. The growth from motor may not be that impressive. Growth will come from the non-motor side. We want to grow our nonmotor business in an aggressive mode," general manager for agency distribution channel Pang Yoke Nam told The Malaysian Reserve in a recent interview.
The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) recently reported that February car sales dropped to 36,675 units from 38,527 units in the same month last year. It elaborated that sales of passenger cars fell to 33,281 units in February this year, against 35,437 units in the corresponding month last year while sales of commercial vehicles increased to 3,394 units from 3,090 units.
Currently, motor insurance contributes 84% of Kurnia's income while its nonmotor business accounts for 15%.
Moving forward, the market leader in motor insurance will put greater focus on non-motor insurance products such as fire, property, freight and cargo.
"We have a new team and a chief underwriter has been hired. It's an area where you need a lot of competency. The non-motor chief has put the underwriting and processes in place. We have reorganised and our expansion mode has been looked upon. We now need to train the agents," said Pang.
Pang added that Kurnia has 6,500 agents and is aiming to hire another 1,000 agents starting the next financial year in July.
"We have 30 branches nationwide that conduct business opportunity seminars monthly to attract potential agents," he said.
Meanwhile, Kurnia managing director K H Chia said the company will leverage on its agency network and huge motor policy customer base to cross sell its non-motor insurances.
"We are putting up a call centre and will start cross selling in April," he said.
Kurnia Insurans is a wholly-owned subsidiary of listed insurance group Kurnia Asia Bhd. The latter incurred a group net loss of RM301.79 million for the year ended June 30, 2007 on a turnover of RM1.20 billion.
It suffered a net loss of RM11.99 million, or 0.81 sen a share, for the six months to Dec 31, 2008 compared to a net profit of RM26.72 million, or 1.79 sen a share, in the same period a year ago.

(This story appeared in The Malaysian Reserve on Mar 30, 2009. The Malaysian Reserve is a daily business/finance newspaper published out of Kuala Lumpur, with a sectoral page on insurance & takaful called UNDERWRITER, appearing on alternate Wednesdays, edited by Habhajan Singh.)

Takaful Malaysia sells land, office for RM63m

SYARIKAT Takaful Malaysia Bhd (STMB) is selling land and an office building worth RM63 million to Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Bhd (Exim).
The properties involved in the proposed transaction are seven pieces of freehold land together with an 18 storey building, all located in Kuala Lumpur.
The transaction would result in a net gain of RM543,000 and would allow the company to focus on its principal activities of managing family and general takaful businesses, STMB said in a statement to Bursa Malaysia on Mar 24.
STMB entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement with Asian Finance Bank Bhd (AFB) as the financier for EXIM for the transaction.
According to last week's filing, EXIM has obtained a Murabahah term financing-i facility of up to the maximum aggregate principal amount of RM55 million from AFB to finance their purchase of the property. STMB will dispose the said property to AFB, which would then dispose the property to EXIM, the end purchaser, under the Al-Murabahah concept facility.

(This story appeared in The Malaysian Reserve on Mar 30, 2009)

Jerneh Insurance targets 10% premium growth

Jerneh Insurance Bhd is aiming for 10% growth in gross premiums this year, supported by its partnership with the Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM).
"That is our target but we have to be conservative and realistic about the economic situation. It is challenging but there is always an opportunity," its chief executive officer Lim Sun told reporters after sealing the partnership document with AAM on Mar 25.
Representing AAM was its chairman Tunku Mudzaffar Tunku Mustapha. The partnership has resulted a new product called AAMJ2U, a comprehensive motor insurance policy.
Exclusively offered to AAM members, AAMJ2U provides policy holders various benefits including door-to-door insurance and road tax service, accident assistance, and post repair inspection. Lim said the partnership is also expected to help increase Jerneh Insurance's market share in the motor insurance business.
The general insurer currently holds two to three percent share of the motor insurance market currently. Motor insurance makes up about 30% of Jerneh Insurance's total general insurance portfolio, while its largest portfolio was properties which accounted for 34% to 40%.
Jerneh Insurance's parent company is the Kuok Group. It is also a subsidiary of Jerneh Asia Bhd, an investing holding company whose primary activity is the underwriting of general insurance business providing a complete range of products and services in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia.
AAM chairman Tunku Mudzaffar meanwhile said due to the challenging business environment, AAM was constantly coming up with new products and putting more value and creativity into its products and services.
"The launch of the AAMJ2U is a manifestation of the many initiatives that are being carried out to serve our members better. It more importantly, reinforces AAM's aim at becoming the most dynamic automobile association in Malaysia," he said. AAM has 300,000 members currently. — Bernama

MAA sees RM100m in premiums in a year from Super Fortune Plan

Malaysian Assurance Alliance Bhd (MAA) aims to achieve RM100 million inpremiums in a year from its Super Fortune Plan launched yesterday.
The plan is an endowment insurance plan with death and total permanent disability coverage that is catered for individuals aged between 10 and 55 years.
The plan provides guaranteed annual cash payments at a rate of 4% after the 10th policy year and a lump sum cash payment of 120% of the sum assured payable upon maturity, which is about 30 years after the commencement.
"During uncertain times like this, people look for guaranteed plans," said MAA vice president of life business development services Chan Yok Chor. For example, a non-smoker male aged 25 who chooses to pay premium for six years for a basic sum assured of RM100,000 would need to pay annual premiums of RM15,820 or a total premium of RM94,920 over the six years.
Upon maturity at the age 60, he would receive a total guaranteed annual cash payment of RM136,000 and a lump sum cash payment of RM120,000.
"The total return i s RM256,000 together with death and disability coverage. That translates to RM2.70 for every RM1 you put in," said Chan.
The Super Fortune Plan allows customers to choose their premium paying term of six, ten, 15 or 20 years. Customers can also pay their premiums either monthly, quarterly, semi annually or annually.
"Through our surveys, we found out that customers don't like to pay premium for a long period. The plan allows them to pay in a shorter period. Customers can also attach additional benefits or rider plans such as medical and accident," said Chan.
Under the plan, the minimum sum as sured i s RM25,000 and policyholders cannot change the premium paying period.
Meanwhile, MAA CEO Muhamad Umar Swift sees no drop in the general insurance industry amid the economic slowdown.
"The general insurance market has been robust with sales up year-on-year. On life insurance, savings policies have declined while protection-type policies have gone up," he said.
On the sale of a 4.9% stake in MAA Takaful Bhd to AmAssurance Bhd, Muhamad Umar said it would take four to six weeks to finalise and submit documents for authorities' approval.

(This story appeared in The Malaysian Reserve on Mar 24, 2009. The Malaysian Reserve is a daily business/finance newspaper published out of Kuala Lumpur, with a sectoral page on insurance & takaful called UNDERWRITER, appearing on alternate Wednesdays, edited by Habhajan Singh.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

MNRB faces challenging conditions, says MARC

Malaysian Rating Corp Bhd (MARC) affirms its AAis rating on MNRB Holdings Bhd's (MNRB) RM200 million Islamic medium term notes (IMTN) programme with a Developing Outlook.
The affirmed rating of the investment holding company largely reflects the sustainable business profile of its core operating subsidiary, Malaysian Reinsurance Bhd (Malaysian Re) and its adequate, although weakened recent operating performance in the context of large rising claims and challenging financial market conditions.
The rating also incorporates prudent levels of financial leverage and strong debt service coverage at the holding company level. MNRB remains substantially reliant on dividend upstreaming by Malaysian Re to meet its debt service obligations and for the preservation of its financial flexibility.
The developing outlook reflects the challenging underlying operating conditions in reinsurance and insurance sectors and the likelihood for underwriting performance and investment earnings to remain pressured, both of which could expose MNRB's reinsurance, takaful and retakaful entities to potential volatility in capital strength.
MNRB is the holding company of Malaysian Re, Takaful Ikhlas Sdn Bhd (Ikhlas) and MNRB Retakaful Berhad. Malaysian Re, in turn, holds a 20% stake in Labuan Reinsurance (L) Ltd (Labuan Re).
The main profit contributing entity of the group, Malaysian Re, is the largest player in the domestic reinsurance market with a 61.9% market share of gross reinsurance accepted premiums in 2007.
This reflects existing voluntary cession (VC) market arrangements with local general insurers which will remain in force until end of 2009. Malaysian Re continues to make good progress in preparing for challenges arising from lower cessions from domestic insurers going forward.
This is evidenced by declining dependence on gross premium income generated by its VC business. Local and overseas treaty business has in recent years, contributed more significantly with share of revenue from VC declining to 49.1% in financial year (FY) 2008 (FY07: 53.8%).
Malaysian Re's underwriting results for the year ended March 31, 2008 and for the nine months ending December 2008, were adversely impacted by higher claims incurred.
The reinsurer's financial results for 1H09 showed a 61% drop in pretax profit to RM21.3 million compared to the corresponding period in FY08. The poorer performance is attributed to an underwriting deficit of RM8.8 million and a 25.5% decline in investment income to RM24.8 million (1H08: RM33.3 million).
Malaysian Re's risk-based capital (RBC) adequacy is expected to remain good based on its RBC parallel report as at end March-2008, which places Malaysian Re's total required capital at RM409.3 million against its total capital available of RM607.4 million.

Prudential Plc CEO resigns

Mark Tucker, Prudential plc group chief executive officer, announced his resignation today (Mar 19) as the company posted a net loss of 396 million pounds compared to a 947 million pounds net profit the year earlier, when calculated according to the basis of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The company announced chief financial officer Tidjane Thiam will take over the position effective Oct 1. Mark was an executive director of Prudential from 1999 to 2003, and from 1993 to 2003 he was Chief Executive of Prudential Corporation Asia.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

LIAM: ‘BNM’s risk-based capital regime has benefitted industry’

By Habhajan Singh
The central bank's recommendation back in 2001 to establish prudential risk management standards has contributed to a significant strengthening of the life insurance sector, says the nation's life insurance body.
"Insurance companies are now very adequately capitalised based on the risks undertaken by the companies.
"Risk management practices have also been significantly enhanced as a result of a risk-based capital regime," Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) president Ng Lian Lu told The Malaysian Reserve in a recent interview.
He was commenting on the position of the industry today since Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) introduced the Financial Sector Masterplan in 2001, which also involved the insurance sector.
Below are extracts from the interview covering a number of issues facing the industry:

Industry Developments

TMR: What is the latest take on the critical illness scheme with EPF?Ng: We are currently in discussions with various stakeholders on the roll out of the scheme. As the scheme is made available to all EPF members who have been a member for at least three months, the potential number of people signing up for the scheme is very significant. Various bodies have requested information and explanation of the scheme's features, hence we see the need to engage the key stakeholders before the scheme is launched. This is despite the fact that the scheme is not compulsory and members have complete freedom in deciding whether to purchase the product and whether the scheme benefits meet their needs.

TMR: What is the progress of members adopting the Risk-Based Capital (RBC) framework?
Ng: The RBC came into force on Jan 1, 2009. All member companies have adopted the RBC. There was never a doubt that the transition to the new regime would be smooth as companies have conducted parallel runs for two years and all teething problems have been addressed prior to the implementation of the RBC.

TMR: A CEO of an insurance company has suggested that the RBC regime provides an opportunity for consolidation, as the regulatory demands greater levels of judiciousness by insurance companies to manage their capital adequacy levels based on the risks they took. Do you share this view?
Ng: Based on the statistics of BNM as at end-2007, there were eight life insurers, 25 general insurers and eight composite insurers. It is not hard to see that there is high potential for consolidation to happen in the general insurance industry. Under the RBC regime, capital required is linked to risks undertaken, (and) insurance companies need to have a proper capital management plan to ensure the efficient deployment of capital. This creates the opportunity for risk diversification through mergers and acquisitions. Companies that manage capital well may also be able to create value by taking over companies that have not managed capital efficiently. TMR: Are we set to see any major M&As in the life insurance sector? Ng: We do not rule out M&As in the life insurance sector in Malaysia. Personally, I would have thought that more M&A activities are likely to happen in the general insurance industry than the life sector.

(to be continued)

(This story appeared in The Malaysian Reserve on Mar 18, 2009. The Malaysian Reserve is a daily business/finance newspaper published out of Kuala Lumpur, with a sectoral page on insurance & takaful called UNDERWRITER, appearing on alternate Wednesdays, edited by Habhajan Singh.)

Obama tackles AIG anger during California trip

President Barack Obama pressed his case for an expensive budget and broad financial reforms on Wednesday while anger over bonuses paid at bailed-out insurance giant AIG threatened to overshadow his economic agenda.
During a campaign-style trip to California, a state that has been hard hit by the recession, Obama tried to defuse criticism about the AIG payouts and defend the government's bailout of struggling banks even as he tapped populist anger over the country's financial woes, reports Reuters in a Mar 18 posting from California.
"I know a lot of you are outraged about this -- rightfully so. I'm outraged too," he said of the $165 million in bonuses given top officials at American Insurance Group Inc, which accepted US$180 billion in government aid to keep it from going under. "I'll take responsibility. I'm the president," he told the cheering crowd of some 1,300. It's my job to make sure we fix these messes even if I don't make them."
Reuters reported that the firestorm over AIG and its business-as-usual bonuses threatens Obama's image as a crusader for change and could undermine his efforts to pull the economy out of a deep recession and pass his record US$3.5 trillion budget.
At a brief White House news conference before his trip, Obama expressed confidence in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who has come under harsh criticism over the bonuses, and his economic team, many of whom stood at his side.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

ALLIANZ's ANKEL: Living a life more than ordinary

By Alfean Hardy
Insurance, at first glance, cannot be called living a life less ordinary. Yet, when young half-German, half-Greek Cornelius Alexander Ioannis Ankel decided to work abroad, insurance was what he took on in order to see the world.
And see the world the has.
Allianz Malaysia Bhd's chief executive officer Alexander Ankel has packed his bags for destinations as varied as Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, Japan and Malaysia.
He joined the Allianz SE Group in 1997 where he has had stints as Allianz Insurance Management Asia Pacific Pte Ltd senior business development manager, Allianz Fire and Marine Insurance Japan Ltd and Allianz General Insurance Malaysia Bhd chief executive officer.
Speaking to The Malaysian Reserve in Kuala Lumpur recently, Ankel said his decision to enter the insurance sector as a young man, was not because he knew what he wanted to do but rather for the sake of wanting to work in a different culture with people from a diverse cultural background.
"At that time, I didn't really know what profession I wanted to have. I only knew that I would like the opportunity to work overseas," he said. Eventually, an uncle persuaded him to consider insurance brokerage and the rest, as they say, is history. Natural Relationship Ankel said his experience as an insurance broker here, handling key German accounts in the region like Robert Bosch in Penang, eventually led to him joining Allianz.
"I knew all the blue chips and, one of my key capacity and risk providers was Allianz. So there was a natural relationship between Allianz as an insurer for German accounts and us doing brokering on the other side.
"The other reason was that Allianz is a great employer, (they) gave me plenty of development opportunities and helped me realise my professional ambitions. "And, amidst all the economic uncertainty, the group is doing considerably well and has proven to be a reliable partner for its clients and employees," he added.
Ankel joined Allianz here in Asia almost 11 years ago and, through his job, managed to realise his dream of working in different environments. He said the travelling he has done thanks to Allianz has allowed him to increase his knowledge about the region. "It has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people and create lasting friendships," he said.
He added that, professionally, the events that have rocked the region, like the Thai baht crisis, the tsunami and the SARS epidemic, have helped create a bond amongst professionals like himself who live and work in Asia. Turnaround In March 2004, whilst working in Japan, Ankel received the call to be the chief executive officer of Allianz General Insurance Malaysia.
"Those days, it was more of a turnaround scenario. It was not bleeding. It was in a situation where the company was falling behind its competitors and peers. It was an overhaul in all main functions," he said.
Since then, the company has posted double digit growth, varied its distribution network, rehauled its Information Technology systems and diversified its distribution portfolio, amongst others.
"Everything has gone according to plan. We've positioned ourselves in a strong position in the industry, positioned our brand very strongly, satisfied our shareholders, re-listed the company and created a new holding structure and so on," he added.
Ankel said the overhaul, from A-to-Z, took about four years and involved strategies like deliberately shrinking the general insurance business' gross premiums as well as focussing on retaining, retraining and recruting the company's human resource assets. He said, at management level, many lessons were also learnt.
"From today's perspective, we as a management team have all learnt that you can't implement change if staff expect the change to be executed only at the top.
"You have to break that momentum of ownership and responsibility down to the very low levels of the organisation and make sure everyone supports the organisation. It truly makes a difference," he added.

(This story appeared in The Malaysian Reserve on Mar 18, 2009. The Malaysian Reserve is a daily business/finance newspaper published out of Kuala Lumpur, with a sectoral page on insurance & takaful called UNDERWRITER, appearing on alternate Wednesdays, edited by Habhajan Singh.)

Saudi central bank sets rules for foreign insurers

RIYADH • The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) ordered foreign insurers working through Saudi agents to halt operations in the country until they get their own licences, reports Bloomberg.
SAMA also put in place new regulations, including mandatory monthly financial performance reports, for licensed foreign insurers operating in the kingdom, according to a statement on the central bank’s website on Mar 15.
Four Saudi insurance companies said earlier this month that they are planning to sell shares to the public to raise 260 million riyals (RM253.53 million). Strict regulation made it harder for Saudi banks and companies to borrow, protecting their balance sheets against the worst of the global credit crunch.
"There are 21 insurance providers already and probably SAMA knows that saturation levels have been reached and limits have to be placed," chief economist at Riyadh-based Saudi British Bank John Sfakianakis said in an email. The country’s central bank governor Mohammad al-Jasser said on Jan 28, that a further tightening of banking restrictions was needed. The financial crisis should stimulate better financial management, al-Jasser said according to the kingdom’s official news service, the Saudi Press Agency.
"There is a need to place important legal parameters on the whole insurance sector, as well as setting limits on new market players," Sfakianakis said, the agency reported.

BCHB to tap Indonesian insurance mart with tie-up

By Ashwin Raman
Bumiputera-Commerce Holdings Bhd (BCHB) has sold a 49% stake in its Indonesian unit, PT Commerce International (PTCI), to Canada's Sun Life Financial Inc for US$22.7 million (RM84.1 million) to form a joint venture insurance company.
PTCI will be rebranded as CIMB Sun Life and will distribute life insurance products through BCHB's unit, CIMB Niaga, the banking group said in statement on Mar 16. The remaining 51% in CIMB Sun Life will be owned by CIMB Niaga and another unit of BCHB, Commerce International Group Bhd.
BCHB said CIMB Sun Life will be formally launched later this year and will seek to capture a share of the Indonesian insurance market, which recorded total premiums worth US$4.7 billion in 2007.
BCHB's group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Nazir Razak said: "Having successfully merged Bank Niaga and Bank Lippo to form CIMB Niaga, we look forward to delivering more value to CIMB Niaga customers through a bancassurance offering that will result from this partnership."
"The opportunity that exists is huge. We believe that this joint venture will bring with it a compelling proposition to address this market segment, and continue to see CIMB Niaga deliver component of universal banking to its customers."
BCHB said CIMB Sun Life will leverage on the combined strengths of both organisations, specifically Sun Life Financial's insurance expertise and infrastructure and BCHB's extensive treasure capabilities and distribution strength.
It said CIMB Sun Life will aim to become the major provider of life, accident and health insurance products to CIMB Niaga customers through the latter's network of 650 branches and direct channels throughout Indonesia.

CAPTION: Pix 3 - Peter Miller, Director of CIG CIMB Group (no.1 from left), Arwin Rasyid, President Director Bank CIMB Niaga (no. 2 from left), Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak, Group Chief Executive, CIMB Group (no. 3 from left), Stephan Rajotte President Sun Life Financial Asia (no. 4 from left) and, Chris Lossin, President Director Sun Life Financial Indonesia (no.5 from left) during the press conference.

(This story appeared in The Malaysian Reserve on Mar 17, 2009. The Malaysian Reserve is a daily business/finance newspaper published out of Kuala Lumpur, with a sectoral page on insurance & takaful called UNDERWRITER, appearing on alternate Wednesdays, edited by Habhajan Singh.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Non-motor segment helps industry record growth

The strong performance of the non-motor sector has helped the country’s general insurance industry to record a 3.2% growth in gross direct premium to RM10.5 billion last year, reports The Star, quoting Bank Negara insurance and takaful supervision department director Yap Lai Kuen.
The medical and health, and liabilities classes grew by 16.7% and 10.5% last year as compared with 2007 while the personal accident class posted a 9.2% growth during the same period.
"Even though 2008 has been challenging, the insurance industry has maintained an overall high volume of business," she said when opening the inaugural Sarawak insurance agency seminar in Kuching on Mar 10, the newspaper report.
However, the report said Yap said the life insurance’s new business annual premium equivalent registered RM7.2 billion last year, down from RM7.6 billion in 2007, largely to a decline in sales of investment-linked business.
"It is worthwhile to note that ordinary life recorded a strong growth of 18.6%, thus demonstrating the industry’s ability to adapt to a changing business environment," she added, the report said.

Monday, March 9, 2009

AIG fine-tunes focus to maintain growth

By Isabele Francis
AIG General Insurance (Malaysia) Bhd (AIG Malaysia), which is eyeing takaful operations here, is hopeful of maintaining a 5% revenue growth in the current fiscal year by shifting focus to smaller outfits from bigger corporations, which are trimming their overheads.
Its CEO Rob Ryan told The Malaysian Reserve that AIG Malaysia will achieve a 5% revenue growth this year by changing its business mix.
Ryan also believes that the reorganisation of the company under AIU Holdings Inc will provide AIG Malaysia with stability and a definitive long-term direction.
The formation of AIU, announced on March 2, follows the bailout plan for Amer ican International Group Inc (AIG Inc), and is aimed at protecting and enhancing the value of the groupÆs general insurance businesses by separating them from AIG Inc. AIU will have a separate board of directors, management team and a brand that is distinct and independent from AIG Inc.
AIU Holdings will assist AIG Inc in preparing for the potential sale of a minority stake in the business.
"The bailout will not have any impact on AIG (Malaysia). However, this will mean that we will report to a different board of directors.
"As part of AIU Holdings, we will be part of a wellcapitalised business that will not be reliant on its parent AIGÆs agreement with the US government to support its financial strength," he added. He said his biggest challenge this year is to grow the business amid a difficult economic climate.
Ryan added that it is harder for a larger corporation to grow, especially those that are export-oriented.
"For example, these companies are likely to see fewer overseas trips. Historically, we donÆt have a big, small and medium enterprises portfolio.
"Insurance is not a luxury. It is good risk management and SMEs should see the value that we can offer," he said in a recent interview.
Meanwhile, on the company's takaful plans, Ryan said: "There is definitely demand for it in Malaysia. We hope to be in the race whenever Bank Negara Malaysia plans to issue more licences."
On the impact of lower interest rates on the local front, Ryan said although the insurer expects lower investment returns, the rates have no bearing on its underwriting businesses.
In the fiscal year 2008, AIG Malaysia posted a net profit of RM36.09 million. Gross premium written was RM494.68 million, and net premium written stood at RM349.89 million.
It posted a net loss incurred (NLI) of RM195.68 million, due to provisions. It also saw a jump in expenses due to starting up costs.
AIG Malaysia's profit margin is about 4% [CORRECTED]. For the year, AIG Malaysia has paid out RM189.99 million to policy holders. Its capital adequacy ratio is at 220% compared to Bank Negara Malaysia's minimum of 130%.
Its capital reserves stood at RM310.8 million and its cash and short-term deposits are in excess of RM220 million. The insurer's gross premium to date for the first quarter 2009 is RM31.4 million, up 4.7%. (This story appeared in The Malaysian Reserve on Mar 6, 2009)

BNP Paribas ‘Better’ Positioned to Weather Crisis With Fortis

BNP Paribas SA, France’s largest bank, will be better positioned to weather the financial crisis after the purchase of Fortis banking units in Belgium and Luxembourg, Chief Executive Officer Baudouin Prot said in Bloomberg report dated Mar 9.
"This crisis has demonstrated the benefits of having large deposits," Prot said on a call with analysts.
Guarantees provided by Belgium are also a 'significant' buffer for BNP Paribas’s capital level should the crisis worsen, he said.
The report added that BNP Paribas will have more than 540 billion euros (US$683 billion) of deposits, the most in the 16 nations sharing the euro, if it wins over Fortis investors at an April vote.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Insurers’ investment returns to suffer ‘significantly’

By Habhajan Singh
The expected investment returns for most insurance companies will "suffer significantly" this year as the economy takes a beating, Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) president Ng Lian Lu said.
"Achieving a good investment return will be one of the major challenges," he told The Malaysian Reserve recently.
Concerns about investment returns are global, a recent international survey of insurers showed.
In the second Insurance Banana Skins survey by The Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation in association with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), investment performance emerged as the number one risk.
"The ability of insurance companies to get through the crisis depends above all on their investment performance, i.e. achieving sufficient returns to protect capital, remain profitable and meet commitments to customers," the report said.
In the previous survey in 2007, investment performance came in at No. 11. The fallout from the credit crunch and its impact on the strength and profitability of the insurance industry propelled investment performance to the top of the list of concerns for insurers worldwide.
Locally, Ng said the indsutry was not surprised that the sale of single premium products, the main purpose of which is for investment, was affected in 2008.
The association, which represents 18 life insurers including Great Eastern Life Assurance (Malaysia) Bhd, MCIS Zurich Insurance Bhd and Prudential Assurance Malaysia Bhd, expects to see a negative growth of 27% in single premium business.
Despite operating in a difficult economic environment, he noted that the annual premium business managed to achieve a 5.4% positive growth rate in 2008 while group insurance business "performed even better in 2008" with an 18% growth over the year before.
"There are two main reasons why people buy insurance, one is for protection and the other for investment. "In the current economic environment, it is very challenging to deliver good investment returns," he said.
In an earlier statement, when commenting on the life insurance performance for 2008, LIAM said based on preliminary data issued by the association for the entire life insurance business in Malaysia, individual traditional business (savings and protection plans) enjoyed a strong double-digit growth of 19.1%, or RM2.5 billion, in 2008.
It said group insurance also chalked up a healthy 18% growth despite the tough business climate.
"The unfavourable investment environment and economic conditions have resulted in a slowdown in the sale of investment-linked products, which recorded a decline of 32.6%," it added.

(This story appeared in The Malaysian Reserve on Mar 6, 2009. The Malaysian Reserve is a daily business/finance newspaper published out of Kuala Lumpur, with a sectoral page on insurance & takaful called UNDERWRITER, edited by Habhajan Singh.)

‘Malaysian insurance companies stronger than in the past’

By Habhajan Singh
Insurance companies in Malaysia are much stronger than in the past, have more expertise and are run by strong management teams, says Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) president Ng Lian Lu.
"I think the local industry is certainly ready to face future challenges," he told The Malaysian Reserve when asked if the players are prepared for the hurdles posed by globalisation.
"In fact, a majority of the present life insurance companies have strategic partnerships with international players," said Ng who is also chief executive officer of AmAssurance Bhd. He said this when commenting on the Financial Sector Masterplan released by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) in March 2001.
In the document, which expires next year, it was noted that one of the major challenges facing the insurance industry going forward was the "increasing competition from traditional players as global trends of consolidation and specialisation create international insurers that are larger, better skilled and more focused on core areas of competence".
Asked if this was still an issue, he said: "With the pace of globalisation and increasing presence of global players in the market through various joint ventures in the past few years, competition against international insurers is no longer something new to the local industry." In fact, the local life insurance market has seen the presence of foreign players for many years now.
These include the likes of Singapore-based Great Eastern, UKbased Prudential, Dutch-owned ING Insurance and US-headquartered American International Assurance (AIA). Their life outfits in Malaysia — Great Eastern Life Assurance (Malaysia) Bhd, Prudential Assurance Malaysia Bhd, ING Insurance Bhd and American International Assurance Bhd — have all had a long presence in Malaysia.
Most local insurers have also forged a tie-up with foreign partners. For example, local banking group CIMB Bhd's insurance arm has tied up with Aviva plc, the world's fifth-largest insurance group and the biggest in the UK, to form CIMB Aviva Assurance Bhd.
Incorporated in February 2006, AXA Affin Life Insurance Bhd is a joint venture company between AXA Asia Pacific Holdings Ltd and Affin Holdings Bhd.
AXA Group today is the result of a series of mergers involving French regional mutual insurance companies. Two local players in the life sector without foreign partners are Hong Leong Assurance Bhd and Malaysian Assurance Alliance Bhd. When asked about potential of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) on the life sector side, Ng said association does not rule it out.
"Personally, I would have thought that more M&A activities are likely to happen in the general insurance industry than the life sector," he said.
Other players in Malaysia's life insurance sector are Allianz Life Insurance Malaysia Bhd, Etiqa Insurance Bhd, Hannover Life Re (Malaysian Branch), Malaysian Life Reinsurance Group Bhd, Manulife Insurance Bhd, Mayban Life Assurance Bhd, MCIS Zurich Insurance Bhd, TM Asia Life Malaysia Bhd and Uni.Asia Life Assurance Bhd.
When commenting on the industry outlook, Ng noted that the key challenge in an environment like the present is achieving good investment returns.
"The distribution force will also have to put in extra effort to educate consumers on the importance of having adequate insurance coverage, especially during this difficult time. "Insurance companies will also need to be more innovative taking into account customers needs which may be different in such an environment," he said.
On the industry outlook for 2009, he said the industry foresees that the single premium business to remain stagnant in 2009. "However, the annual premium business should still be able to achieve a single-digit growth. The prospect of group insurance business remains good following a strong performance in 2008," he said.

PHOTOGRAPH: 'Insurance companies will need to be more innovative,' says Ng (2nd left) with fellow members of the management committee (from left) Great Eastern CEO Koh Yaw Hui, AXA Affin Life Insurance CEO Vincent Kwo, ING Insurance MD Datuk Dr Nirmala Menon, UniAsia Life Assurance CEO Ooi Say Teng and MCIS Zurich Insurance CEO Md Adnan Md Zain

(This story appeared in The Malaysian Reserve on Mar 6, 2009. The Malaysian Reserve is a daily business/finance newspaper published out of Kuala Lumpur, with a sectoral page on insurance & takaful called UNDERWRITER, edited by Habhajan Singh.)

AIG Asia unit to remains financially strong amid slowdown

American International Assurance Co, the Asian unit of American International Group Inc, said it remains "financially strong" even after an economic slowdown in the region weakened demand for insurance products, reports Bloomberg.
The AIA group had a combined solvency ratio of more than 200% of the regulatory requirement as of Nov 30, the company said in an emailed statement on March 5. Total assets are currently more than US$60 billion (RM223.65 billion), it said, without providing earlier figures, the report added.
Bloomberg added that AIG, which got its fourth government bailout this week after posting a US$61.7 billion quarterly loss, agreed to place AIA and American Life Insurance Co into trusts to pay down its federal credit line. The insurer last month put together all its AIA units in the Asia-Pacific region to form the AIA group.

China Life looking at overseas banks, says chairman

China Life Insurance Co is studying overseas acquisition targets, including banks, after deciding not to bid for the Asian unit of American International Group Inc, chairman Yang Chao said on March 3 in Beijing, reports Bloomberg.
The report said buying assets in other countries in the current global financial climate is "risky" although it also brings opportunities, he told reporters at the annual meeting of the Chinese legislature’s advisory body. Chinese companies and banks have spent an estimated US$100 billion (RM372.75 billion) buying up assets in, or making loans to, countries from Russia to Venezuela this year, taking advantage of foreign rivals’ need to raise money.

Monday, March 2, 2009

LIAM denies issuing ranking on insurance companies

The Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) has denied issuing any public information regarding the ranking of life insurance companies in Malaysia.
In a statement released in Kuala Lumpur on March 2, LIAM clarified that the few advertisements placed by a life insurance company recently claiming it was ranked the No.1 life insurer in Malaysia, was inaccurate.
The insurer according to LIAM, cited it as the source of the ranking. But LIAM stated the ranking was not endorsed by it.
LIAM, which has 18 members, of whom 16 are life insurance companies and two life reinsurance companies, however did not name the company.
LIAM meanwhile said that the unfavourable investment and economic conditions had resulted in a slowdown in the sales of investment linked products, which recorded a decrease of 32.6%. — Bernama (Mar 2, 2009)