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Our businesses and their performance

Asia

Supporting Asia’s rapidly growing middle classes with solutions for their financial protection, savings and investment needs

Paul’s story
PruLife UK, the Philippines

‘Cooking has always been my happy place – through the years, I strove to make my own fantastic food, from lamb racks to cured hams. However, this was a hobby, not a career path.

‘At 33, I was an IT practitioner with no background in what I dreamed of being: a chef. I knew leaving my profession could leave us financially unstable. But because of my PRUlink exact 10 policy, I finally mustered the courage and took the big leap of following my dreams. Now, at 35, I am a graduate of the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in Tokyo, with both arms wide open for the exciting times ahead.’

2016 performance highlights

  • Continued delivery across key value creation metrics: new business profit up 22 per cent*, IFRS operating profit up 15 per cent* and free surplus generation up 15 per cent*
  • Solid improvement in agency productivity, up 31 per cent10
  • Strong bancassurance new business profit growth of 15 per cent*
  • Record funds under management at £117.9 billion, up 13 per cent
  • Now operating in 67 cities in mainland China, where APE sales are up 31 per cent*
  • On track to deliver 2017 financial objectives
  • Eastspring Investments was named largest retail manager in Asia in 20167

*On a constant exchange rate basis.

The opportunities for growth in our sector are well understood and remain compelling, but delivering value for customers and shareholders over the long term requires focus and discipline. Prudential Corporation Asia has a number of advantages, including scale and diversification in geography, distribution and products, together with a well respected brand.

Tony Wilkey
Chief Executive,
Prudential Corporation Asia

Tony Wilkey

Understanding our markets

Working age population3,4

Working age population chart

Population

Out-of-pocket healthcare spend2

Out-of-pocket healthcare spend chart

Health gap

Insurance penetration1

Insurance penetration chart

Penetration

Private financial wealth5

Private financial wealth chart

Wealth

Asia’s economic transformation started in the 1980s and the momentum remains strong. Although growth rates on a period-by-period basis can fluctuate due to the influence of macroeconomic and geopolitical factors, the unprecedented increases in personal wealth enjoyed by the growing number of Asian families will continue into the foreseeable future. Between 2010 and 2020 it is estimated that there will be over 700 million people who will have risen from rural subsistence to more affluent lifestyles. Family profiles are changing too. Being able to finance children’s education is a realistic goal, life expectancies are lengthening dramatically, the incidence of chronic diseases is increasing significantly and traditional family and community support networks are breaking down. All these factors can place significant stress on a family’s finances.

The provision of personal financial security is one of the hallmarks of a successful society. Governments in the region appreciate this but typically only have appetites to provide rudimentary levels of state-sponsored healthcare and other social services. Consequently they are keen for individuals to take responsibility for their own financial well-being, address the health and protection gaps and establish savings plans towards their financial security.

While basic medical services may be provided by the state, there can be a high level of out-of-pocket expenses. Around 42 per cent of healthcare spend in the region is out-of-pocket, with this figure as high as 56 per cent in some markets, compared with 12 per cent in the US and 9 per cent in the UK. This creates strong demand for financial solutions to protect against the potentially devastating impact of health-related incidents on a family’s finances. Critical illness and medical riders are popular additions to life insurance policies in the region.

Insurance penetration remains low and prospects for protection-oriented insurance products remain high. Penetration rates vary by market in the region, which includes under-served markets such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand, and better-served ones like Singapore and Malaysia. While customer needs vary in each market, our product solutions are manufactured to serve the bespoke needs of each market and are distributed by our multi-channel distribution network.

As an individual’s personal wealth increases, demand is created for savings and investment solutions that enable the individual to increase that wealth and plan towards financial security. Around 60 per cent of Asians’ savings are held in unproductive cash, and the loss of compounded investment income that could be earned from putting these savings to work in the capital markets is material.

Prudential has been successful in identifying these opportunities and executing strategies in Asia that enable us to grow the business materially, meet customers’ needs and consistently deliver value to shareholders.

Prudential has been operating in Asia for over 90 years and since 1994 has built high-performing businesses with a product portfolio centred on regular savings and protection, multi-channel distribution, award-winning customer services and a widely recognised brand. Eastspring Investments is a leading asset manager in Asia and provides our clients with access to investment management expertise across a broad range of asset classes.

Although there are common elements such as our focus on regular premium, protection and capital-efficient products, each market in our portfolio has unique characteristics and we adapt our participation strategies accordingly. For example, in Vietnam and Indonesia, life insurance awareness and penetration rates are very low and our priority is building nationwide distribution scale that reaches potential customers and provides them with their first, relatively simple life insurance cover.

In Singapore, by contrast, we have more sophisticated financial planners providing advice to customers on a more complex variety of protection, savings and investment options, either directly or via our bank partners.

One of Prudential’s core strengths is the diversity of our portfolio – by geography, by distribution channel and by product – and the flexibility this gives us in responding to particular opportunities and managing our participation in areas where markets have become more challenging. Consequently, while the headline performance of Prudential Corporation Asia remains relatively stable and predictable over time – we are on track to deliver the five-year performance objectives announced in 2013 – the individual components are likely to flex period by period. For example, we have recently seen strong demand from customers in mainland China for our participating and critical illness products in Hong Kong, while in Indonesia the emerging middle class is under pressure from systemic challenges in the economy and so demand for our regular-premium, protection-orientated life insurance has been temporarily depressed in that market. We always seek the appropriate balances between value and volume.

Serving a diverse continent

Prudential Corporation Asia is a powerful franchise with a wide footprint in the right markets, established go-to-market capabilities and superior brand strength in protection and long-term savings.

Compounding growth, delivering diversified earnings

The compound effect of growth in our customer base and case size over time increases our sales for the life insurance business, while satisfied customers become advocates of our asset management products, growing our funds under management. This, combined with a relentless focus on regular-premium business, produces diversified earnings growth in Asia.

Chart showing Life weighted premium income

Diversification (%)
IFRS operating profit by region, full year 2016, %

IFRS operating profit by region, full year 2016

Growth rate vs 2015
constant exchange rates
1 Indonesia  26% 6%
2 Singapore 14% 3%
3 Hong Kong 14% 40%
4 Malaysia 9% 15%
5 Vietnam 7% 21%
6 Thailand 6% 21%
7 China 4% 83%
8 Philippines 2% 9%
9 Taiwan 2% 25%
10 Others 7% 8%
11 Eastspring 9% 10%
 

Prudential Corporation Asia is a powerful franchise with a wide footprint in the right markets, established go-to-market capabilities and superior brand strength in protection and long-term savings.

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Driving our business

Customers

In Asia, we focus our efforts on helping new and existing customers build better futures for themselves and their families, by helping to fill the savings and protection gap that exists in many countries in the region.

14.6m life customers

Products

With all-season product solutions, we always listen to and understand our customers to tailor products and services to meet their changing needs. For example: PRUhealth cancer multi-care was launched to address the impact of multiple cancer strikes in Hong Kong and the region.

93% of APE sales in regular premium

80% brand awareness
(average 93% in top four markets)

Distribution

We are well positioned in terms of the scale and diversity of our distribution to reach and serve our customers’ needs. At the core of our distribution model is face-to-face interaction with customers that delivers high-quality, needs‑based advice.

>500,000 tied agents

10,000 bank branches

Investment for growth

Building on our strong track record, we are incubating for future growth by investing in new opportunities and capabilities.

67 cities in China

400+ agency offices in Indonesia

£117.9bn total funds under management with Eastspring Investments

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Customers

With more than 14.6 million life customers in Asia, Prudential has one of the largest pan-regional insurance customer bases, with a retention rate of over 90 per cent. To illustrate the scale of our growth and effectiveness of our execution, during 2016 renewal premium collected from our existing customers increased by 20 per cent to £9.1 billion and we paid claims of nearly £5 billion to our customers.

Products

Our life product suite has three main categories: participating, linked and protection.

Although the protection component remains relatively consistent in the mix, reflecting our focus on this core customer need, the products within this category continue to evolve. For example, in Hong Kong we recently added a new feature that covers customers in the event of multiple diagnoses of cancer.

For the savings component of our insurance policies, we have seen softer demand for unit-linked products, given the recent volatility in capital markets, and correspondingly increased demand for participating products and their smoothed returns. The markets do have strong demand for products with high levels of guaranteed return but, although these can generate significant APE sales volumes, we only participate in this sector in a very controlled way. We maintain our balance sheet discipline and are unconcerned by any temporary erosion in market share.

Distribution

Prudential Corporation Asia is well positioned in terms of our scale and diversity of distribution. Each market is unique and our overarching regional distribution strategy reflects our comprehensive approach to building pan-regional distribution capabilities, underpinned by effective platforms, comprehensive product solutions and the highest level of customer experience.

The scale, reach and quality of our life insurance distribution are evidenced by our productivity, persistency and customer satisfaction across the region. At the core of our distribution model is face-to-face interaction with customers, which delivers high-quality, needs-based advice. Supporting this approach is our continuous investment in enhancing customer experiences, such as the PRUcustomer friend customer servicing model in Indonesia and the PRU for you online community in Hong Kong.

Tied agency remains the most popular distribution channel in the region. For Prudential Corporation Asia, this produced 65 per cent of APE sales in 2016. At 31 December we had more than 500,000 agents, up 10 per cent on the previous year. Excluding India, the productivity of our active agents increased by 31 per cent.

Bancassurance is our other main distribution channel, generating 25 per cent of APE sales for Prudential Corporation Asia in 2016. Prudential Corporation Asia works with a number of partner banks, including international groups such as Standard Chartered Bank, regionals such as UOB, domestic banks such as Thailand’s Thanachart Bank and the retail banks of our partners CITIC in China and ICICI in India.

Eastspring Investments

Our regional asset management division, Eastspring Investments, is one of the region’s largest asset managers7, with a presence in 10 major Asian markets as well as distribution offices in the US and Europe. It has £117.9 billion in assets under management, managing funds across a range of asset classes, including equities and fixed income, distributed through bank partners, brokers and online platforms.

Eastspring has a stable and steadily growing core of funds under management from Prudential Corporation Asia’s life businesses, including the majority of its unit-linked funds. Its Asian focus and performance track record have also enabled it to secure sizeable institutional mandates, both in Asia and more broadly. The retail arm includes the attractive Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese markets. In Japan, our Asia Oceania High Dividend Equity Fund, with funds under management of £3.2 billion, is one of the largest in its sector.

Investing for growth

Prudential’s platform is well established and we continue to invest in growing the business through expansion into new markets such as Laos and opening up in new cities in existing markets such as China, Indonesia and the Philippines. We are also investing in expanding our agency network in the region and we are enhancing our operating capabilities, particularly leveraging new technologies.

At Eastspring we are investing in the brand, in the operating model and in talent development, in order to ensure that we expand our regional capabilities to capture the opportunities available from the growth of the retail mutual funds markets in Asia.

Yona’s story
Prudential Indonesia

‘I realised how crucial it is to be insured when I was diagnosed with a cerebral abscess last year. I needed to have surgery and spent one-and-a-half months in intensive care at the hospital, so I’m thankful that I was covered by my Prudential hospitalisation rider. Today, I’m grateful to have my health back again and feel blessed that I’ll soon be able to welcome into the world my own little bundle of joy.’

Notes

  1. Insurance penetration source Swiss Re Sigma 2015. Insurance penetration calculated as premiums in per cent of GDP. Asia penetration calculated on a weighted population basis.
  2. World Health Organisation – Global Health Observatory data repository (2013). Out of pocket as a percentage of Total Health Expenditure Asia calculated as average out of pocket.
  3. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Population Division (2015) World Population Prospects The 2015 Revision, DVD Edition 15.
  4. Working age population 15-64 years.
  5. Source: BCG Global Wealth 2015 Winning the growth game.
  6. Based on FY16 or the latest information available. Source includes formal (eg Competitors results release, local regulators and insurance association) and informal (industry exchange) market share data. Ranking based on new business (APE sales on weighted full-year premium depending on availability of data). The ranking for China is among foreign players and India is among private life insurers.
  7. Source: Asia asset management September 2016 (ranked according to participating regional players only). Based on assets sourced from the region, excluding Japan, Australia and New Zealand as at June 2016.
  8. Based on latest market data available. Laos penetration is based on Swiss Re 2016 Sigma Report – Insuring the Frontier Markets.
  9. FUM reported based on the country where the funds are managed.
  10. Excluding India.

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