EastWest Ageas Life Insurance Corporation (EastWest Ageas Life), a joint venture of EastWest, one of the country’s fastest growing universal banks, and Ageas Insurance International NV (Ageas), an international insurance group based in Belgium with a heritage of more than 190 years, was recently granted a life insurance license by the Insurance Commission.
In May of last year, EastWest and Ageas signed a joint venture (JV) agreement with an equal shareholding of 50 percent each in EastWest Ageas Life.
While the license grants permission to underwrite life insurance, EastWest Ageas Life still has to wait for Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ approval of the bancassurance business within EastWest premises.
EastWest Ageas Life CEO Hans Loozekoot is very excited about the opportunities for the new company.
“The Philippines is basically a one product market for life insurance as over 75 percent of all such products sold here are single premium Universal Life Insurance contracts. Our approach is different. We believe in building and nurturing relationships for life with our customers. We will focus on offering insurance solutions which are relevant for the relatively young customers of EastWest. Young people are generally more concerned with having a safety net. Therefore, we will provide advice on access to healthcare, children’s education, home loan protection and planning for the longest holiday of their life – retirement,” he said.
Loozekoot is focused on ensuring that customer will be ‘advised’ of the right solutions and that they experience excellent customer service. “Our people will not ‘push’ products. Their job is to engage customers, understand their needs, and provide custom advice. This is why we call them ‘Advisors’. Our passion to help our customers plan and protect themselves and their families is why we wake up in the morning and come to work.”
When asked about the partnership with EastWest, he said, “Ageas and EastWest are equal partners in the JV and bring complementary skills. This is a marriage of choice. There is strong commitment from both parties and we know we will do everything to make this work – for our customers, for our employees and for each other.”
EastWest Bank President and CEO Antonio C. Moncupa Jr. is likewise optimistic about the joint venture with Ageas, saying it enhances EastWest’s value proposition to customers.
“Bancassurance is a vital strategy for us as it makes us a truly one-stop shop for our clients’ financial and insurance needs. We are confident that the diversification of our products to include protection solutions will enhance our competitive edge, increase customer loyalty, and create greater value for our customers while expanding our revenue stream,” he said.
The newly formed insurance company is seen to benefit from EastWest Bank’s fast-growing customer base, consisting of 433 branch stores, representing the seventh largest distribution network among banks in the Philippines. On the other hand, Ageas contributes its vast experience in bancassurance from its successful businesses in Asia and Europe.
Insurance Commissioner Emmanuel F. Dooc believes that EastWest Ageas Life is a welcome force in developing the insurance industry in the Philippines.
“There is strong commitment evidenced by the joint venture’s Php 2 billion capitalization which is double our minimum requirement. The focus on protection products for youth and the mass market will help in the financial inclusion of Filipinos and will give them a better future,” he said.