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SCB Life eyes 30% growth despite economic, political woes

SCB Life Assurance, a unit of Siam Commercial Bank, has set an ambitious target of 30-per-cent growth this year, compared with just 9 per cent last year, even though the market has been affected by the economic slowdown and political uncertainty.

Vipon Vorasowharid, managing director of SCB Life, said yesterday that the company had outlined a five-year plan to tackle the challenges.

Under the plan, the company will focus on being customer-centric by concentrating on developing products to tap different life stages and lifestyles.

It will build a role model for agents and set up a network of professional agents to tap each target segment under the multi-distribution channel strategy.

The insurer is improving its infrastructure system to support its service across all distribution channels and serve future expansion, he said.

It also plans to use its branches as the channel for receiving claims from policyholders.

"Under the five-year plan, we aim to grow annually by 20 per cent on average," Vipon said.

SCB Life projects total premium growth of 30 per cent this year, against 9 per cent last year.

The company, ranked fourth in the life-insurance market, last year recorded gross premiums of Bt45.49 billion and new business of Bt18.23 billion, while renewal premiums expanded by 17 per cent to Bt27.26 billion

Subhed

Bancassurance remains the key channel for driving premium growth, Vipon said, adding that the company earned new business of Bt16.75 billion and total premiums of Bt39.32 billion from bancassurance last year.

The company also strongly built up the agency channel during the course of the year, with a view to achieving sustainable growth in the future.

First-year premiums brought in by agents last year grew by 26.5 per cent to Bt950 million, while gross premiums expanded 14 per cent to Bt3.65 billion.

Business gained by SCB Life's active agents climbed to 40 per cent of the total, from 30 per cent in 2012, and their average yearly premiums increased to Bt26,000, from Bt18,000.

Vipon said that as the proportion of life-insurance policyholders in the Thai population was 36-37 per cent, the market still had plenty of room for growth.

The changing age structure of the Kingdom's demographics, higher living costs and rising household debt are expected to convince more consumers of the importance of having savings and insurance, he said.

Thanks to the wide range of |distribution channels, including micro-insurance - the latest |channel, which offers low premiums via convenience stores - more general-public customers can access life insurance these days, he added.


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