AMBANK’S LIFE INSURANCE BIZ TO HAVE A FOREIGN PARTNER
AMMB Holdings Bhd is gearing up to select a strategic foreign partner for its life insurance business, AmLife Insurance Bhd. The group is aiming for the top five position in each of its business segments and it is evaluating interests pouring in from global bigwigs for a share in the business. According to the company, the selection of a strategic partner is expected to take almost three months before the group has a “clear picture” of its potential partner. Although the company is open to selling a stake in the life insurance arm, it intends to keep a “reasonable” stake in the business. Foreign companies can acquire as much as a 70% stake in Malaysian insurance companies. The restrictions on foreign ownership were eased from a 49% level in 2010 under the financial sector liberalisation plan. In the life insurance sector, some key foreign players in Malaysia include Great Eastern Life Assurance (M) Bhd, which is controlled by its Singaporebased parent American International Assurance Bhd, after acquiring ING Insurance Bhd, Prudential Assurance Malaysia Bhd and Allianz Malaysia Bhd. Currently, the group holds a 100% stake in AmLife Insurance after the purchase of Friends Life FPL plc’s 30% stake in AmLife Insurance and AmFamily Takaful Bhd. The group acquired Kurnia Insurans and MBF Cards last year and is in the process of integration for the two acquisitions. The integration process is slated to be completed by 2014. In the general insurance segment, the group has a strategic partner in Insurance Australia Group Ltd which holds 49% of the general equity in the company. The company claims to have reached the No 1 spot by premium count in the general insurance after the purchase of Kurnia Insurans.