SINGAPORE – HSBC has agreed to take over AXA’s insurance business in Singapore for $ 575 million ($ 780 million), the banking heavyweight announced on Monday (August 16).

HSBC Insurance (Asia-Pacific), an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of HSBC, has proposed to acquire 100 percent of the outstanding share capital of AXA Insurance in Singapore, subject to regulatory approval.

AXA Singapore is currently the eighth largest life insurer in Singapore in terms of annualized new premiums. It is also the fifth largest property and casualty (P&C) insurer and has a share in the health insurance market.

The combined business would create the seventh largest life insurer on an annual basis of new premiums and the fourth largest private customer health insurer on the basis of gross premiums. That equates to about 600,000 life, health and P&C policies in force, HSBC said in a statement.

HSBC said the move will help cement its goal of becoming a leading wealth and insurance manager targeting wealthy populations in Asia.

As of December 31 of last year, AXA Singapore had net worth of $ 474 million, annualized new premiums of $ 85 million and gross written premiums of $ 739 million. For the past year, a pre-tax profit of $ 23 million was reported.

The move comes at a time when the demand for life insurance has increased amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a recent report by the Life Insurance Association, Singapore’s life insurance industry drew $ 2.68 billion in weighted new business premiums in the first six months of this year.

New sales in the first half of this year rose 61 percent from 1.66 billion S $ in the first half of last year. This was also higher than the new sales of 1.91 billion S $ in the first half of 2019.

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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission is required for reproduction.