Generali: new Hong Kong biz for ‘HNWIs and mass affluent’

Assicurazioni Generali, the Trieste, Italy-based insurance giant, has unveiled a new Hong Kong business that it says will target “high net worth individuals and mass affluent customers” living there.

Generali has been marketing life and general insurance products in the Hong Kong market for almost 40 years. But like many other multi-national insurance companies, it has been tweaking its international business recently, as it looks to adjust to and accommodate changes in the markets in which it operates.

Generali Life (Hong Kong) Ltd – a Generali Group, rather than Generali Worldwide, initiative – will offer a “comprehensive range” of traditional life, unit-linked and universal life insurance products under its new licence, the company said in a statement.

It is being headed up by Phuong Chung, its chief executive, who was previously chief executive of Generali Vietnam, which he joined in 2014 after almost eight years with Manulife, also in Asia.

In Hong Kong, Generali Life Hong Kong will sit alongside Assicurazioni Generali’s Hong Kong branch and Generali Worldwide’s Hong Kong branch, which continues to be licensed and fully operational in Hong Kong, the company said. This means that Generali Worldwide’s flagship “Select” product will continue to be authorised and available to investors.

‘Response to market opportunity’

In its statement, Generali said the new Hong Kong business was a response to a “rapidly-growing customer segment” in that market.

Jack Howell, regional officer for Generali Asia, said that by launching Generali Life Hong Kong, the company was well-positioned to capture what he said was a “market opportunity” that Generali, given its years of experience, had the expertise to address.

Generali’s almost four decades as a Hong Kong insurer, Generali Life Hong Kong CEO Chung added, meant that it had well-established, long-term relationships with key business partners, clients and stakeholders, which would also come into play as it looked to go after the market’s “growing number of high net worth and mass affluent individuals, looking for highly sophisticated [insurance products]”.

One of the largest international insurance companies, the Generali Group saw total premium income of more than €74bn in 2015, and is active in more than 60 countries.

Last year, Guernsey-headquartered Generali International announced that it was to be merged with Generali Worldwide, also based in Guernsey, a move that saw it retain the Generali Worldwide name, while announcing it would cease accepting new business from some 14 jurisdictions, including China, Brazil and Switzerland.

Generali Worldwide now focuses on its core licensed markets of Hong Kong, Singapore, Guernsey, Jersey, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas.  It also does business in the United Arab Emirates, where it operates under the Assicurazioni Generali name, and its products are distributed through the local Generali Group branch.

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