FinanceAsia has determined Asia ex-Japan's largest life insurance companies by their total premium income for 2003. Our top 50 list is the first to be independently published for several years and conveys which companies are attracting the most business and generating the most revenues.
After a seven-year period of sector-wide fluctuation, 2003 will be remembered by life insurers as one of the more stable in recent years. Insolvencies levelled out and the larger insurance businesses witnessed dramatic premium growth for both domestic and foreign life insurers.
In China, life insurance penetration went from strength to strength, For the world's most populated nation, total written premiums edged close to Rmb400 billion for the year and the sector enjoyed some much needed recapitalization through the China Life and Ping An listings.
And in India, the market has been experiencing similar premium growth and 2003 will be remembered by the industry as the year when the foreign joint ventures took on the dominant Life Insurance Company of India (LIC).
Overall, 2003 was a robust year for premium income across the region.
When looking at the size of a life insurance company, the amount of money generated by total gross premiums reflects the breadth and size of any given organization. The total premium number reflects the combined new and retained business deriving from life insurance.
The standings (see across) were sourced from annual reports, statistics provided by regional insurance organizations and from research conducted by numerous insurance consultants.
After the local currency premiums for 2003 were established, the number was exchanged in US dollars, using current exchange rates.
In compiling our ranking, we excluded the total premiums of Japanese life insurers (and feature separately), but did add the Asia-Pacific's most established market, Australia.
Japan, which has the world's second largest insurance market, is also home to Asia's largest life insurers by premium. We excluded the Japanese life companies on the basis that it would have drastically reduced the number of regional insurers in the top 50 ranking. In fact, when you add together the total premium income of just the top five Japanese life insurers you reach a number not dissimilar for the top 50 for non-Japan Asian ($128 billion for the top five from Japan, versus $144 billion for the top 50 from non-Japan Asia).
Australian-operating companies were included to gauge where Asian life offices stood in comparison to an extremely mature sector. Although many Australian life insurers sit in the upper portions of the standings, the total premium volumes will continue to be dwarfed by the increased inflows into Asian life books.
With half the market share of the Chinese market in its hand, it seems unsurprising that China Life was the largest life insurer in the region. The Beijing-based company is the indisputable driver for life growth in China and investor demand ensured the world's largest IPO in 2003.
South Korea's "big three" companies also faired well in 2003, all emerging in the top five. Although Samsung Life, Korea Life and Kyobo Life have lost market share to foreign players in recent years, the premium numbers suggest that they are among Asia's best.
Taiwanese and Hong Kong based companies were also well represented on the list.
The FinanceAsia list of Asia's top 50 life insurance companies demonstrates an industry that has repaired much of the damage from the 1997 financial crisis and is now on a concerted growth path.
The Top Five at a Glance:
|Company||Country||Founded||Domestic assets ($)||Market share||Salesforce||Controlling shareholder||Market Cap ($)||CEO|
|1||China Life||China||1949||39,763,874,776||45.9%||650,000||Chinese Government||14,553 million||Wang Xianzhang|
|2||Samsung Life||South Korea||1963||48,396,000,000||36%||70,000||Lee Family||N/A||Jung-Choong Bae|
|3||Korea Life||South Korea||1946||26,601,061,099||18%||28,500||Hanwha Consortium||N/A||Chan-Byung Bae|
|4||Cathay Life||Taiwan||1962||42,798,625,000||21.1%||30,000||Tsai Family||13,636 million||Tsai Hong-tu|
|5||Kyobo Life||South Korea||1958||27,811,055,964||16.5%||29,500||Shin Family||N/A||Chan-Jae Shin|
The FinanceAsia 50 Top Insurers
|Country||Company Name:||Total Premiums 2003: ($)|
|3||Korea||Korea Life/Daehan Life||8,085,357,450|
|19||China||New China Life||2,075,500,000|
|21||Korea||Allianz Life Korea||1,830,232,558|
|22||Hong Kong||AIA Hong Kong||1,761,856,154|
|23||Hong Kong||Manulife Financial (HK)||1,666,837,624|
|24||China||Tai Kang Life||1,611,800,000|
|26||Korea||ING Life (Kr.)||1,452,713,178|
|32||Taiwan||Mass Mutual Mercuries||1,095,125,322|
|34||Hong Kong||HSBC Life (HK)||1,041,495,769|
|36||Taiwan||Allianz President Taiwan||972,287,331|
|37||Taiwan||China Life Taiwan||964,312,225|
|38||Hong Kong||AXA China||884,615,385|
|42||Hong Kong||Prudential (HK)||783,241,795|
|44||Australia||Citicorp Life (Au)||705,789,620|
|45||Australia||Zurich Life (Au)||653,616,260|
|48||Korea||Met Life Korea||571,231,697|
|49||Thailand||Thai Life Insurance||543,010,281|
Japan's Top Five Life Insurance Companies
|Company||Total Premium 2003 ($):|
|*Meiji and Yasuda merged.|