SUN LIFE AIMS TO SHINE BRIGHT IN ASIA
Source: The Sun Daily, 11 September 2013 The Canadian life insurer, Sun Life Financial Inc has newly acquired the takaful operation in Malaysia. According to the company, it is an important component and a strategic step towards its grow plans in Asia. Sun Life made its debut on the Malaysian market operating a conventional life insurance business under the name Sun Life Malaysia Assurance Bhd and a takaful business via Sun Life Malaysia Takaful Bhd. Sun Life Financial Asia President Kevin Strain said that Malaysia and its first takaful unit in Indonesia can both play a bigger role in developing and expanding its takaful business beyond their markets there by forming an insurer takaful hub together. Sun Life Malaysia Takaful, which offers family takaful, or Islamic life insurance, is hopeful to replicate the success of its Indonesian unit. As the unit in Indonesia has a rapid growth of 25 per cent in just two years. Malaysia's family takaful sector, which registered total premiums of RM4.5 billion in 2012, is projected to record a 20 per cent growth in premiums over the next two to three years, outperforming the growth in the conventional sector. Market penetration for the family takaful segment in Malaysia is still low at 11 per cent, compared with conventional life insurance, which is 55 per cent. Sun Life has been focusing on the emerging economies of Asia, which is expected to provide higher return and growth compared to the North American markets. Currently, the company is in seven markets in Asia – namely, Hong Kong, India, China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia. With a footprint in four Southeast Asian countries, Sun Life is optimistic on its prospects in the fast-growing market that has a combined gross domestic product of more than US$1 trillion (RM3.28 trillion). Asean nations are expected to expand 5.6 per cent in 2013. Sun Life Malaysia's ambition is to increase its market share, in terms of life insurance sales revenue, from 1.9 per cent to 2.7 per cent by 2015. It plans to develop a multiple distribution channel strategy to boost its ranking to eighth by 2015 from 12th currently. Strain did not rule out for Sun Life setting up an asset management company in Malaysia in future. The company has asset management companies in most of the markets they operate in as they see insurance and asset management handin-hand.