Pandemic boosts APAC’s insurance giants 2020 performance: analyst

The top 20 insurance firms reported an aggregated premium of $821.4b.

The top 20 insurance firms in the Asia Pacific saw a growth of 2.5% or $821.4b in their top-line performance in 2020 according to a report by data and analytics firm, GlobalData.

The analyst attributed this robust performance to the COVID-19 pandemic which heightened the demand for life and health insurance products.

The report also found out that seven insurance players reported more than 5% rise in premiums earned and the top companies maintained financial robustness through flexible hedging of assets under management.

GlobalData named Japan-based insurer Dai-ichi Life; China-based New China Life Insurance and China Reinsurance; and Taiwan-headquartered Cathay Financial as the most notable performers in the region.

Dai-ichi Life outperformed the top players, with its revenue growth surpassing 20%, as the weaker Yen allowed the company’s returns from its investments to soar significantly over the previous year.

China Reinsurance reported 19.2% increase in year-on-year (YoY) revenue owing to swift growth in savings- and protection-type life, domestic P&C reinsurance, and health reinsurance business, which led to 16.2% growth in premium income; and obtaining surplus investment returns by surpassing the market benchmarks.

Meanwhile, New China Life reported a more than 15% rise in revenue due to 13.7% and 16.8% growth in premiums from health insurance and traditional insurance products, respectively.

“Technology developments is one more area that has gained more importance. Due to the COVID-19 social distancing norms and regulatory push, many insurers have accelerated the adoption of digital platforms,” Murthy Grandhi, Company Profiles Analyst at GlobalData said.

In 2020, Ping An Insurance introduced "One-click Claims Services," which has now been availed by more than 2.34 million customers. It also has been leveraging AI robots to offer digital, paperless, automatic smart insurance policies and claims services. Its subsidiary, Ping An Property & Casualty processed more than 6.9 million digital self-service family auto insurance claims.

The remaining players reported moderate revenue growth with China Taiping, T&D Holdings, China Life Insurance, Hanwha Life, and China Pacific Insurance reporting a YoY growth between of 10-15%; while Fubon Financial, MS&AD Insurance, Samsung Life, The People’s Insurance, AIA, and Sompo reporting marginal growth rates between 5-10%.

However, Japan Post Insurance underperformed with a 2.8% decline in revenue on the back of 4.4% drop in annualized premiums from individual insurance and medical care insurance due to non-participation from proactive sales proposals.

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