SHANGHAI, China, Aug. 2, 2005 – Manulife-Sinochem Life Insurance Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Canada-based Manulife Financial and the Official Life Insurance Partner of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, has launched its group insurance business. Manulife-Sinochem has been actively preparing for its group insurance business since the recent lift of product restrictions for foreign insurers by the Government, as part of China’s commitment to the World Trade Organization.
“We are very pleased to be in a position to now offer our portfolio of innovative financial and protection products to companies,” said Marc Sterling, Executive Vice President, Regional Operations, Asia, Manulife Financial. “Our long-term goal is to become the employee benefit provider of choice in the mainland for joint-ventures and small-to-medium sized companies. Manulife has a solid history across the world of providing organizations the products and services they require to attract and retain staff. Leveraging this expertise, we were able to swiftly put systems and products in place to be among the first of the foreign joint ventures to offer group insurance to mainlanders.”
Manulife-Sinochem is first launching its group insurance to employers in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing and Ningbo and will roll out at a later time into the other cities in which it has operations: Foshan, Dongguan and soon in Hangzhou and Nanjing.
Three product packages will serve a wide range of needs
Group insurance remains the major employee benefit requirement for most companies in China. As such, Manulife-Sinochem conducted market research to design its first line of products – “Classic,” “Premier” and “Elite” Packages – taking into consideration the various needs of China’s businesses.
The “Classic Package” is designed to satisfy the basic protection needs of small-to-medium sized companies and comprises accidental death and dismemberment and accidental hospitalization products. The “Premier Package” consists of well-selected products including accidental, life and hospitalization insurance, while the “Elite Package” provides a much wider range of protections, including accidental and life protection, hospitalization income and critical illness. For all three packages, clients can select accidental outpatient coverage as an option. Manulife-Sinochem has also designed a full-range of group insurance benefits as part of a tailor-made plan, which will be offered to clients in the near-term.
As Group provider of choice, Manulife-Sinochem also offers service excellence
Manulife is well known in the overseas markets for its professionalism, reliability and dependable service. All traits that are inherent to the company’s outstanding service model and operation system, and also of prime importance when an employer is selecting a Group provider for its valued employees.
“We understand that in the fast-paced Chinese business environment, providing employees peace of mind is an important part of an employer’s business,” James Lin, General Manager of Manulife-Sinochem. “Employers can demonstrate how much they value the contribution of staff by offering life and health benefits to protect employees’ lives and those of their families. The benefits further serve to increase employee loyalty and decrease staff turnover, which is ultimately beneficial to overall business growth.”
As part of Manulife-Sinochem’s customer service offerings, the Company will provide additional services such as online inquiries, employee benefit seminars, and various VIP club activities. Manulife-Sinochem will also offer clients value-added health management services, such as online health profile, discounted health check, major disease forecast and health consultation through a third-party healthcare management company.
“Manulife-Sinochem has opened four branches in China and is operational in six cities,” added Mr. Lin. “The Company will open three or four more branches this year and plans to devote even more resources into developing the group insurance business in each of these cities. Manulife as a whole is placing great emphasis on the expansion of its China operations, and as part of this strategy we plan to build our group and future corporate pension business into significant lines of business for Manulife-Sinochem.”
Leveraging worldwide experience and expertise
Manulife-Sinochem is well positioned to enter China’s group insurance market with strong support and solid foundation provided by its parent company, Manulife Financial. As the number one and number two life insurer in Canada and North America, respectively, Manulife is one of the largest group benefits providers in Canada, serving more than 15,800 employers and more than eight million Canadians. In Hong Kong, Manulife ranks number one in group life and health plans for small and medium-sized companies based on case count, and number three based on gross earned premiums.
Manulife-Sinochem is a joint venture company between Manulife (International) Limited (51 per cent) and China Foreign Economic and Trade Trust & Investment Company, a member of the Sinochem group (49 per cent).
China Foreign Economic and Trade Trust & Investment Company (FOTIC) is a core enterprise of Sinochem. Sinochem, founded in 1950, is one of the biggest foreign trading companies in China. Sinochem has been listed among the Fortune Global 500 companies for 15 consecutive years, ranking 287th in 2004. It was ranked fifth among China’s 500 largest companies in 2004. Sinochem can be found on the Internet at www.sinochem.com.
Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through John Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$350 billion (US$290 billion) as at March 31, 2005.
Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘0945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com.