BSP OKs EW-Ageas insurance venture
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has approved East West Banking Corp.’s entry into an insurance venture with Ageas Insurance International NV, one of Europe’s largest insurers.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, the Gotianun-led EW Bank said the BSP had given the go-ahead for the bank to infuse P500 million in initial equity into the joint venture with Ageas.
EW Bank and Ageas have formed a 50-50 percent partnership to establish a new life insurance company to be called EastWest Ageas Life.
Part of the deal is a 20-year exclusive distribution agreement.
The aspiration, according to the bank, is to build a “premier bancassurance business in the Philippines offering tailor-made insurance solutions to the customers of EW Bank supported by high quality service and state-of-art technology.”
Bancassurance, a new growth area for many banks, refers to the cross-selling of insurance products in bank branches.
The insurance business is seen to benefit from EW Bank’s growing customer base. With more than 400 branches, EW Bank has the seventh largest distribution network among banks in the Philippines.
Belgium-based Ageas is seen to contribute to the joint venture its bancassurance skills and best practices from its successful businesses in Asia and Europe. Ageas operates successful partnerships in Belgium, the UK, Luxembourg, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, China, Malaysia, India and Thailand. It has subsidiaries in France, Hong Kong and the UK.
Ageas is the market leader in Belgium for individual life and employee benefits, as well as a leading non-life player through AG Insurance.
EW Bank sees bancassurance as an integral part of its business model and as a necessary ingredient to complete its product offerings to the targeted consumer and middle-market corporate segments. The bank has been diversifying its product offerings, taking advantage of the flexibility offered by its universal banking license.
Ageas , for its part, is establishing its presence in the Philippine market as part of its Asian expansion strategy.