Prudential posts 17% rise in new business profit for first nine months of 2014

BRITISH life insurer Prudential has posted a 17 per cent increase in new business profit for the first nine months of the year to £1.51 billion (S$3.1 billion), on the back of higher sales in each of its three life insurance businesses in Asia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

In Asia, the insurer's new business profit for the nine months rose 15 per cent to £775 million, driven by annual premium equivalent (APE) sales, which comprise regular premium sales and one-tenth of single premium insurance sales, subject to rounding.

In the US, new business profit for the same period was 16 per cent higher at £530 million, while it was £209 million or 28 per cent higher in the UK, after stripping currency fluctuations.

For the three months ended September, the total new business profit came in at £499 million, up 5 per cent from the corresponding quarter last year.

Total APE sales was 14 per cent higher at £3.43 billion for the nine months, mainly driven by growth in Asia.

For the third quarter of 2014, APE sales rose 9 per cent to £1.13 billion.

The insurer said its focus on health and protection offering in Asia helped lift profits.

In Singapore, APE sales went up 9 per cent to £258 million, due to higher agency volumes, which grew 19 per cent led by regular premium business.

The company said bancassurance sales grew 12 per cent in the third quarter as monthly sales reached record levels in September.

The group said it has seen increased volatility in investment markets in recent weeks, driven by several factors including the potential impact of the withdrawal of central bank support in the US and persistent difficulties in the eurozone.

In Asia, it added that it will continue to build on its regional distribution platform by expanding its agency distribution while also strengthening its bancassurance channel. The life insurer had done so this year with its renewal of the pan-regional Standard Chartered relationship for another 15 years.

In the US and the UK, the company will build on chosen market segments, prioritising the generation of earnings and cash over volume, added Prudential.

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