AIA chief calls on India's Modi to increase insurance jobs

Country needs to open up its insurance industry to catch up with China, says leader

AIA chief calls on India's Modi to increase insurance jobs

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

AIA Group president and CEO Ng Keng Hooi has called on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring in reforms that will create more jobs in the insurance sector.

Ng said that China has outpaced India in insurance reforms, creating jobs for 10 million new insurance agents, despite China having a younger insurance industry than India, a Times of India report said.

He also highlighted the Chinese regulators’ efforts to open up its insurance industry, with foreign ownership limits in insurers raised to 51%, with the cap to be entirely lifted by 2021.

“It is funny that the champion of the free market economy – the US – is putting [trade] restrictions and China is very clear that it is opening up its markets,” Ng told TOI.

Hong Kong-based AIA operates in India as a minority partner in Tata AIA Life Insurance, headed by CEO and managing director Rishi Srivastava. In China, AIA is the only insurer that is exempt from foreign ownership caps, due to its roots in Shanghai.

Tata AIA is the fastest growing company in the AIA Group, but it is just the sixth-largest, behind the group’s operations in Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia.

“[China’s] regulation, in terms of the micro level, is quite liberal in areas of product design, agency compensation and product-pricing structure,” Ng said. “I think India is a bit more restricted, but we continue to be hopeful that will change because, for an industry to grow, you’ve got to allow insurance companies to innovate.”

“I would like to see the people who are in charge be more open-minded about looking at development rather than just control,” he added.

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