Insurance - - COMPANY CORNER -

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.

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