FWD enters Malaysian life insurance with Gibraltar BSN investment

The group, with other investors, will hold a 70% share in firm

FWD enters Malaysian life insurance with Gibraltar BSN investment

Insurance News

By Kenneth Araullo

FWD Group Holdings has announced its entrance into the Malaysian life insurance market with a strategic, majority investment into Gibraltar BSN Life Berhad, one of the country’s fastest growing life insurers. The transaction involves a few other investors and is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.

Together with other investors, FWD Group will hold an effective 70% stake in Gibraltar BSN, transacted from The Prudential Insurance Company of America. The latter is a wholly owned subsidiary of the US-based and NYSE-listed Prudential Financial. The remaining 30% stake ownership in Gibraltar BSN will be held by the Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN). FWD Group will partner with BSN following the transaction’s completion to further grow and develop Gibraltar BSN.

A key investment in one of Southeast Asia’s largest life insurers

“We’re creating a full-service offering in Malaysia and will be able to offer both family takaful and life insurance solutions in a rapidly growing market with huge long-term potential for growth,” FWD Group chief executive officer and executive director Huynh Thanh Phong said. “We’re excited to bring our digitally-enabled products and services to more people in Malaysia. With these strategic developments, we also substantially complete our footprint across key Southeast Asia markets in the 10th anniversary year for FWD Group. Changing the way people feel about takaful and insurance remains the vision that guides our work.”

Malaysia is ranked by Swiss Re as the fourth largest life insurance market by premium in Southeast Asia, owing to its promising macroeconomic fundamentals and favourable demographics. FWD Group officially entered the country’s insurance business in March of 2019, providing family takaful products, including term life, critical illness, cancer, hospital cash benefit and medical protection.

“Our partnership with BSN underscores our commitment to the Malaysian market and we look forward to playing our part in the growth and development of Malaysia’s takaful and insurance sectors,” FWD Group managing director, emerging markets and group chief distribution officer, Binayak Dutta said. “Since establishment, our business in Malaysia has gone from strength to strength.”

Dutta pointed to the overall growth of FWD Group by 173% during the first full year of operation and establishing its regional technology and innovation hub in the capital of Kuala Lumpur as some of their achievements within the Malaysian market. Dutta also spoke of a partnership with a leading social enterprise to develop a financial literacy program called Fun(d) for Life which supports over 4,200 individuals as of September of last year.

While FWD Group also announced its plans to rebrand the Gibraltar BSN business at a later date, it has reassured existing customers and distribution channels that they will not be affected by the majority investment, and that all existing policies will continue to be honored, including those under FWD Takaful.

Earlier this month, FWD appointed Adrian Vincent as the new CEO of FWD Singapore. He succeeded Khor Kee Eng, who has assumed a new role in FWD headquarters.

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