Eagle Star Insurance Group, one of the top 10 insurance companies in Hong Kong, has announced the appointment of Allan Yu as director for the non-life business and Michael Siu as vice president, agency. Both defected from rival Falcon Insurance (formerly Winterthur Swiss Insurance).

Separately, the company also announced the launch of five new unit-linked funds, two of which are to be managed by Baring Asset Management.

Yu has over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry. During the last 16 years, he was a senior executive at Ka Wah AMEV Insurance, Winterthur and Falcon. He has expertise in the areas of underwriting, pricing, claim reserving and product development. Yu is currently deputy chairman of the Motor Insurers' Bureau of Hong Kong, where he has been serving as a council member since 2001. At Eagle Star, he will oversee the operations and market management of the company's non-life business, reporting to Peter Schelling, managing director and CEO.

As vice president, agency, Siu will oversee the non-life business with responsibilities primarily in agency management, underwriting and business development. He will also be responsible for reviewing and implementing best business practices for motor insurance business.

Siu has more than 20 years of experience in the insurance industry. He has held various senior positions in leading insurance companies. Before joining Eagle Star, he was assistant general manager (marketing, agency division) of Falcon Insurance.

Following on from these appointments Eagle Star has announced the launch of five new funds in its Active Insurance Series. Baring Asset Management will manage two of the new funds, the first time Eagle Star has offered a Baring product, while Threadneedle Asset Management will manage the remaining three.

The new funds to be managed by Baring are the Eastern Europe Fund and the Hong Kong China Fund. Threadneedle will mange the Emerging Market Bond Fund, the European Bond Fund and the Euro Cash Fund. The Baring Eastern Europe Fund is managed by Klaus Blockstaller based in London and the Baring Hong Kong and China Fund is managed by Lilian Co based in Hong Kong.  
Eagle Star's Active Investment Series now offers 15 funds managed by three managers, Threadneedle, which manages 12 funds, Baring, with two, and Deutsche Asset Management, with one. On Baring's side, two other insurance companies offer its products in Hong Kong, namely AIA and Cigna.

"Unit linked insurance products have become more popular in HK over the last three years, and we are definitely seeing an increased trend for other insurance companies to follow suit," says Lin-Yoke Seetoh, director and head of retail and institutional business at Baring International Fund Managers.