Profit before taxation up 21% as FWD continues to invest in elevating customer experience with disruptive insurance solutions
Hong Kong, 3 April 2018 – FWD Hong Kong & Macau (“FWD”) today announced its business performance for 2017 and strategic focuses for 2018. FWD’s profit before taxation (Note 1) (PBT) rose 21% last year to HK$345 million, owing mainly to strong investment returns, renewed focus and product diversification in both its life and general businesses.
Through its focus on multi-channel distribution, FWD continued to lead life insurance direct sales in Hong Kong, a crucial part of the company’s growth strategy.
Ken Lau, Managing Director for Greater China and CEO for Hong Kong and Macau, FWD, said “We’re proud that our strategic initiatives paid off in 2017 with impressive growth achieved amid challenging circumstances. Building on the success of our innovation and diversification, we’ll continue to grow our business and expand our customer base by investing in disruptive protection solutions, multi-channel distribution capabilities and comprehensive customer services with a focus on claims support.”
FWD reported stable growth in 2017 across all of its main businesses, as follows:
- The life insurance business (including Macau operations): PBT rising 22% year-on-year to HK$296 million (Note 1), continuing a strong momentum of profit growth over the past five years. The company successfully focused its product proposition towards health, with health and protection policies accounting for 23% of Value of New Business (VNB).
- The general insurance business recorded a 29% year-on-year growth in PBT to HK$33 million (Note 1), and achieved an overall combined ratio lowering of 3% owing to the company’s sharper focus on more profitable business lines and better claim experience during the period.
- The pensions business: The sale of FWD’s Mandatory Provident Fund business to Sun Life Hong Kong Limited was successfully completed.
FWD’s balanced distribution channel mix in 2017 underscored the company’s success in effectively executing a diversified, multi-channel strategy.
- Tied agency (36% of total APE [Note 2]) remained the largest source of business with 2,256 agents.
- Both brokerage (25% of total APE [Note 2]) and bancassurance (20% of total APE [Note 2]) recorded sizeable improvements in margins following the company’s diversification from universal life to more health and protection products. Meanwhile, discussions with ICBC (Asia) initiated in 2017 led to the successful signing of an exciting partnership agreement in early 2018.
- The direct-to-customer channel (19% of total APE [Note 2]) achieved an impressive growth with sales volume nearly tripled. FWD remained the uncontested leader in direct sales of life insurance in Hong Kong.
2018 Strategic Initiatives
FWD aspires to continuously elevate its customer experience with disruptive insurance solutions that are relevant, easy to understand and fun. In 2018, the company aims to drive strong sustained growth by pursuing three strategic priorities: total health solutions, retirement protection and disruptive claims services.
Paul Tse, Chief Marketing Officer, FWD Hong Kong & Macau, said, “This year, our focus will be on offering innovative health and retirement solutions to continuously engage our customers with different long-term needs. By keeping our customers at the centre of everything we do, we will effectively fill important protection gaps in the market, as we just proved again in February unveiling our Mind+ Critical Illness Protection, the first-ever critical illness plan to include mental health coverage.”
Ted Wai, General Manager, FWD General Insurance Company Limited, said, “Building on the comprehensive protection portfolio of FWD’s general insurance platform for individual and corporate customers, we aim to continuously expand our customer base and engage the public with innovative solutions that add value to different aspects of people’s daily living. Some of the new initiatives include landlord insurance and motor fleet telematics related insurance, taking the success of FWD Drivamatics to the commercial space.”
Vera Chow, Chief Customer Experience Officer, FWD Hong Kong, commented, “For customers, their claims experience is the most vital moment of truth. We strive to elevate our customers’ claims journey based on three core principles: personalisation, innovation and simplification. The first few months of 2018 already saw the successful implementation of multiple innovative initiatives, including the revamped, one-stop eServices app and online portal, Tele-claims Ambassadors, 7-Eleven claims pay-out, and 30-min claims approval and cheque issuance at FWD Insurance Solutions Centres. More disruptive claims services will follow to simplify and ease our customers’ claim journey, such as having qualified insurance agents to authorise customers’ claims on the spot.”
- IFRS figures (for Life Insurance & General Insurance businesses), excluding one-off items, holding company expenses and inter-company elimination.
- APE (Annual Premium Equivalent) = value of regular premiums, plus 10 % of any new single premiums written for the year.