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U.S. Insurer In Talks With The Big Banks

The American International Assurance Co is to cooperate more closely with banks to boost its bancassurance business...

The American International Assurance Co is to cooperate more closely with banks to boost its bancassurance business in China, a senior executive said yesterday.

The insurer has already teamed up with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China and Bank of Communications.

Bancassurance is the selling of insurance products via a bank - a concept that originated in France.

A multi-channel distribution including agents, bancassurance and direct-mail will be used, Hung said.

AIA was one of the first overseas life insurers to tap the Chinese market. Its premiums topped 8.9 billion yuan (US$1.29 billion) at the end of last year as the biggest overseas life insurer in China, according to statistics from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission.

The company is targeting a higher premium this year, Hung said, declining to disclose the figure.

AIA is the life-insurance arm of American International Group Inc.

AIU Insurance Co, the non-life affiliate under AIG, got approval to shift the branch to subsidiary status last year. The Shanghai-based subsidiary, named AIG General Insurance Co China Ltd, began operations in late October.