January 10, 2018 / 9:14 AM / a year ago

Thai SCB, Prudential reach bancassurance deal

FILE PHOTO: The logos of Siam Commercial Bank are pictured at an exhibition hall in Bangkok, Thailand, May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Siam Commercial Bank Pcl (SCB.BK), Thailand’s second largest bank by assets, and Prudential Life Assurance (Thailand), a unit of UK-based Prudential Plc (PRU.L), have signed a bancassurance partnership deal aimed at the lender’s wealthy clients.

An ageing population and a limited welfare system provides opportunities for insurers in Thailand, the eighth largest insurance market in Asia, according to a 2016 Swiss Re report.

“Thailand is one of the largest insurance markets in Southeast Asia with low insurance penetration, a growing and increasingly prosperous population with significant insurance and savings needs,” Aman Chowla, chief executive of Prudential Thailand said in a statement.

“Bancassurance is an integral part of our multi-distribution strategy to reach Thai customers.”

The partnership, which will initially offer three unit-linked products from Prudential, “perfectly” fits in with the financial and investment needs of its customers, said Salisa Hanpanich, executive vice president of the bank’s segment management division.

A unit-linked insurance policy allows holders to invest in qualified instruments, such as mutual funds.

The partnership comes less than a year after the bank attempted to sell its life insurance arm to Hong Kong insurer FWD Group.

Life insurance direct premiums in Thailand stood at 533.2 billion baht (11.89 billion pounds) in 2015, while non-life premiums were at 209.3 billion baht, latest available government data showed.

Reporting by Wirat Buranakanokthanasan, Writing by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath

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