economies, European insurer Allianz’s economic research unit,
Allianz Dresdner Economic Research (ADER), remains optimistic on
prospects for emerging Asian markets.
ADER’s chief economist, Michael Heise, conceded that no region
is immune to the financial crisis and that emerging Asian economies
will see a slowdown in growth. But he stressed that they will not
experience economic contraction.
“Emerging markets in Asia will still show a considerable degree
of resilience,” said Heise.
In particular he noted that Asian banks are generally in a
better financial position than most of their foreign
For its study ADER focused on China, Hong Kong, India,
Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and
In these markets strong domestic demand led by consumer spending
will support economic growth, believe ADER’s economists – who
predict that they will achieve an average real GDP growth rate of
5.9 percent in 2009, down from 7.2 percent in 2008 and 9 percent in
Leading the way in Asia will be China and India. Though Allianz
economists predict a marked fall in their real GDP growth rates in
the first half of 2009, they anticipate a second-half recovery and
full year GDP growth of 7.5 percent in China and 6.5 percent in
Against the background of its positive outlook Allianz is
equally optimistic on prospects for its Allianz Asia Pacific (AAP)
“Our customer base in Asia will continue to expand in 2009,”
predicted AAP’s CEO Bruce Bowers. He noted that declines in Asian
investment markets in particular had negatively impacted AAP’s life
insurance sales, but he anticipated that Allianz’s financial
strength and strong solvency would attract customers seeking a
Backing his confidence, in November 2008 Allianz received the
“Solvency Award” from Chinese business daily 21st Century Business
Herald for having the best solvency management of any insurer in
The award was based on a joint study by California State
University (Fullerton) and Shanghai University of Finance and
Economics (SUFC) of nearly 100 insurers in Asia (excluding Japan
and Malaysia), including all top global players.
Bowers also pointed to considerable recent expansion of AAP’s
sales agencies and bancassurance reach. For example, Allianz China
Life (ACL), a joint venture with financial services group Citic
Trust Company of China, ended 2008 with 15,000 agents, a 50 percent
increase compared with the end of 2007.
Initiatives such as these helped AAP boost customer numbers from
18.5 million at the end of 2007 to 21 million in June 2008, the
latter total equal to more than a quarter of Allianz’s customer
AAP, which operates in 16 countries in the Asia Pacific region,
reported total general and life insurance premium income of €8.8
billion ($11.4 billion) in 2007 and an operating profit of €668
AAP’s two major life insurance markets are Korea and Taiwan. In
2007 Allianz Life Korea reported premium income of €2.2 billion and
a €286 million operating profit. Allianz Taiwan Life reported
premium income of €1.8 billion and a €26 million operating
AAP’s Indian life insurance joint venture Bajaj Allianz Life was
not far behind the Taiwan unit, generating premium income of €1.4
billion in 2007 from some 6 million customers. ACL recorded premium
income of €288 million in 2007.
In the first half of 2008 AAP reported total premium income of
€4.5 billion, up 8 percent compared with the first half of 2007,
and an operating profit of €200 million.