Photo: Duc Anh
Acquisition of insurer an important milestone for Group.
Life insurer Great Eastern Vietnam has been sold to the FWD Group after nine years in the country.
Though the Singapore-registered Great Eastern Life Assurance Company did not announce the sale in Vietnam, the FWD Group, the insurance arm of the Asia-based Pacific Century Group, announced on June 7 it had secured regulatory approval to proceed with the acquisition of Great Eastern Vietnam.
Great Eastern Vietnam will become wholly-owned by FWD and be re-branded. FWD plans to invest significantly to develop the company’s technology infrastructure and enhance the customer experience, with a vision of becoming a leading insurer in Vietnam.
Ms. Vo Thi Tho, Assistant Manager of Marketing & Corporate Communications at Great Eastern Vietnam, confirmed with VET that “the company in Vietnam is being transitioned to FWD” but did not provide any further details or reasons behind the sale. “We have to get the sale completed before June 21,” she said.
The move into Vietnam will be an important strategic milestone for FWD’s Southeast Asian ambitions, as it expands its reach into underserved markets in the region to realize its vision of becoming a leading pan-Asian insurer that changes the way people feel about insurance, according to Mr. Huynh Thanh Phong, CEO of the FWD Group and former CEO of Prudential Vietnam.
“Vietnam’s economic transformation has been remarkable, and coupled with low insurance penetration we see a great opportunity in the market for a new, Asian-born insurer to meet the protection needs of Vietnamese people,” he said.
In a statement released on June 7, FWD said that Great Eastern Vietnam’s business would continue as normal and FWD intends to retain and grow the current employee base. It is actively recruiting a solid senior management team with deep local experience to lead the organization and is expecting to hire new talent at all levels.
Great Eastern Vietnam’s customer coverage and policies will be honored by FWD and remain unaffected by the transfer of ownership. The company’s headquarters will remain in Ho Chi Minh City, with a branch in Hanoi.
The move marks FWD’s second new market entry this year, following the majority acquisition of group medical provider Shenton Insurance in Singapore in April.
Headquartered in Hong Kong, FWD’s presence spans Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore, offering life and medical insurance, employee benefits, and general insurance. It is focused on creating fresh customer experiences, with easy-to-understand products supported by leading digital technologies.
Great Eastern Vietnam began operations in 2007. In 2015 its total revenue was VND83.6 billion ($3.74 million). It employs about 120 staff and has 300 insurance agents nationwide.
Great Eastern CEO Mr. Khor Hock Seng told Singaporean media that the decision was made after a comprehensive strategic review. It will increase its focus on growing its core markets of Singapore and Malaysia, where it is among the market leaders, as well as its businesses in Indonesia and Brunei.