Published: 20:39, March 14, 2022 | Updated: 20:51, March 14, 2022
Manulife emerges as new leadership force in HK insurance
By Kapila Bandara

Leading insurer Manulife Hong Kong has identified four priorities for future growth after posting record earnings in its 125th year of operations

This undated file photo shows Damien Green, chief executive officer of Manulife Hong Kong and Macau. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Manulife Hong Kong, a household name in Hong Kong, has emerged as the No 1 pan-Asian life insurer in the SAR and is celebrating its 125th year of operations this year with solid financial results.

In this milestone year, the insurer is focusing on four priorities to further strengthen and accelerate growth, said Damien Green, chief executive officer of Manulife Hong Kong and Macau.

Damien Green, chief executive officer of Manulife Hong Kong and Macau, said Manulife registered the strongest sales growth and strongest headcount growth among the key agency players in the market

“It was a remarkable year for Manulife Hong Kong. Our team delivered another year of strong results, posting double-digit growth across all key financial metrics, while outperforming our peers to become the No 1 pan-Asian life insurer in Hong Kong on an annualized premium equivalent basis and the No 1 Hong Kong life insurer for total new business premiums, based on third quarter market statistics published by the Hong Kong Insurance Authority,” Green said.

He said Manulife registered the strongest sales growth and strongest headcount growth among the key agency players in the market. 

Green has been with Manulife since 2018 and has extensive experience in leadership roles in Asia-Pacific.

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“Manulife Hong Kong has not only emerged as a new leadership force in the Hong Kong insurance industry but we are also the longest, continuously operating life insurer in Hong Kong,” Green said.

“We have a long-term perspective. We have witnessed many changes in Hong Kong over many generations, much of the changes in Hong Kong’s modern history, and we have never stopped our unwavering commitment to this city, its prosperity and the future,” he said.

“With that historic perspective and all of the opportunities before us, we see a great future and we’ll be investing in that very strongly.”

Green takes pride in the agency which is at the center of the business and which is the core growth and value driver. 

“We are proud to have a highly professional, rapidly expanding agency force that continues to deliver very strong results. Our agency remains the key contributor to our insurance business, accounting for 66 percent of our total APE sales in 2021,” he said.

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In 2021, Manulife Hong Kong achieved its highest agency headcount of over 11,600 agents, an increase of 9 percent over 2020. 

“This marks the strongest agency growth among all key agency players in the Hong Kong industry. At the same time, agency activities and productivity are growing at least at the same rate as  overall headcount growth, proving that the quality of our agency is strong and proving the strength of our overall agency system,” Green said. 

Agency APE sales were robust in 2021, growing by 13 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter. Agency MPF sales grew by a solid 40 percent year-on-year in 2021.

“Importantly, overall incomes of our agents grew by 14 percent in 2021 over 2020. This not only represents the growth of our business, the strength of our platform and the faith that our customers are placing in us and our agents, but also show that we are delivering considerable value and growth for our agents themselves, at a time when most of our competitors are struggling,” Green said.

Manulife Hong Kong has outlined a program of investment, focused on even further strengthening agency capabilities now and into the future.

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“While it is not on the same scale as Hong Kong, Macao has become an increasingly important market for us. Our Macao branch posted robust growth driven by the reopening of the city’s border with the Chinese mainland,” he said. 

Green said APE sales surged by 126 percent in 2021, driven by the resurgence of mainland visitor business, which contributed 60 percent to Macao APE sales compared with 18 percent in 2020.

“Our aim is to get all our customers from the Greater Bay Area access to the most outstanding experience possible,” Green said. 

Given the rapid growth and increasing materiality our Macao branch, we recently appointed Carrie Tong to a new role as the head of our Macao branch in addition to her current responsibilities as chief strategy officer for Manulife Hong Kong and Macau,” he added.