Canadian life company Manulife has forged a deal with Singapore-based DBS to sell its insurance products through the bank’s branches in Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Indonesia.
Under the 15-year ‘regional distribution agreement’, Manulife will become the main provider of bancassurance (life insurance policies sold through banks) to DBS customers in these four markets.
The insurers’ products will now be sold in more than 200 branches, and by 2,000 salespeople, Manulife said in a statement. The products will also be sold on DBS’s internet and mobile banking platforms.
The deal includes an agreement by both companies to co-invest S$100m (US$69.8m, £47.8m) in digital technology and other developments over the next 15 years.
Roy Gori, president and chief executive of Manulife Asia, said DBS’ six million customers would benefit from the bank’s “multi-channel approach”, and “take advantage of Manulife’s full range of innovative products, which are tailored to suit all their financial needs”.
Tan Su Shan, group head of consumer banking and wealth management, DBS Bank, said the establishment of the joint fund would enable the companies to better serve Asia’s “fast-growing consumer base”.
According to Manulife, the two companies believe there are untapped opportunities in the region’s life market. In 2015 they conducted a joint survey that revealed one in three Singapore residents between the ages of 30 and 50 has no life insurance at all.
Manulife has a large and longstanding presence in Asia. It is joint-listed on the Philippines, Toronto and New York stock exchanges, and as of September 2015, had assets under management of C$888bnn (US$627bn).