Manulife to distribute QBE Hongkong & Shanghai insurance in HK

The Hong Kong arm of Canada insurance giant Manulife has signed a deal to become the exclusive distributor in Hong Kong of the full range of general insurance products offered by QBE Hongkong & Shanghai Insurance Ltd.

The QBE products, which include travel, motor, home and employee compensation insurance, will be distributed via Manulife’s agency network, “and will complement Manulife’s comprehensive life, pensions and wealth management products”, Manulife said, in a statement released on Wednesday.

QBE has been selling general insurance products via Manulife’s agency channel in Hong Kong since 2003, Manulife said, but the new arrangement “takes the relationship between the two companies to a higher level”, because it will enable the company to offer both corporate and individual customers a full “one-stop solution” for their financial protection and insurance needs.

Manulife was one of the first North American insurance companies to expand into Asia, having set up a Hong Kong operation in 1898, which pre-dated its entry into the US market.

Noting that QBE has had a strong presence in the market “for nearly as long”, Manulife (International) chief executive Guy Mills said the newly-strengthened partnership would support Manulife’s business strategy of looking to provide “holistic solutions” to its customers, while differentiating the company from its rivals.

QBE HongKong & Shanghai is a privately-held joint venture between the QBE Insurance Group, an Australia Stock Exchange-listed company, and China Construction Bank (Asia) Corp.

According to Manulife, QBE “was ranked the No. 1 general insurer in Hong Kong in 2014 and 2015”, as measured by underwriting profit, and QBE-HKSI was the market’s No. 1 employee’s compensation provider between 2012 and 2015. QBE Mortgage Insurance, another QBE Hong Kong operation, was the market’s No. 2 provider of mortgage insurance between 2013 and 2015, Manulife said.

Joint investment

According to Manulife, under the new deal, which takes effect on 1 August, the two companies  will jointly invest in, and deliver, digital products and “e-business capabilities” that will help Manulife sales representatives to “efficiently distribute” the two companies ranges.

Direct access to Qnect, QBE’s proprietary e-commerce platform, will also be available, allowing Manulife’s reps to “generate instant quotes, manage policy administration and eventually lodge online claims and keep track of a wide range of commercial and personal general insurance products”, Manulife said.

Under the arrangement, Manulife and QBE will also work together to develop customised general insurance products for their corporate and individual customers, Manulife said.

Tornto-based Manulife is listed on the Toronto, New York, Hong Kong and Philippine stock exchanges, and had funds under management at the end of March of C$904bn (US$685.9bn). In the US it goes by the name of John Hancock.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helen Burggraf
Helen Burggraf is the editor of International Investment. A US-trained journalist, she has worked in Rome, New York City and London, covering everything from the fashion and retailing industries to the global drinking water and water-treatment sector, private equity, and most recently, the international cross-border financial services/advice industry.

Read more from Helen Burggraf

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