HSBC is expanding its insurance business in Macau by adding life insurance to its existing general insurance business. The bank's insurance arm, HSBC Life (International), received approval from the Monetary Authority of Macau to operate life insurance business in mid December last year and the registration process was completed at the end of January. HSBC Life is launching two products initially in the market, its Lifetime Protection Plus and Target Protection Plus plans.

Terry Lo, chief executive of HSBC Life, says, "Our ability to offer life insurance in Macau will greatly improve our service proposition, allowing us to offer a more diversified range of services to our customers. Lifetime Protection Plus and Target Protection Plus are only our initial life insurance products for Macau customers. We have every intention to continue expanding our life insurance range." Lo says the intention is to replicate the entire Hong Kong product range in Macau, and already in the pipeline are mortgage-protection products and others.

The products will be distributed solely through the bank's branch network in Macau, which currently numbers four.

The competitive scene in Macau is similar to that in Hong Kong, with the major players, AIA, Manulife and AXA all there. Lo expects to see rapid growth in HSBC Life's business in Macau although of course from a very low base. HSBC started its general insurance business in Macau in 1985.