Alternative distribution will grow but agency will not necessarily shrink - Generali's Regional Officer for Asia

| 27 Nov 2018

Agency and alternative distribution will be twin pillars of future growth for Generali, according to Roberto Leonardi, the Italian insurer's regional officer.

Generali has launched initiatives to diversify its distribution and the agency channel still remains key for Generali where it has close to 80,000 agents in the region. The company hopes to double that number in the near future, as it believes that relationships still play an important part of its value proposition.

“We are enabling our agents with digital tools and also supporting them with digital leads. The distribution alternative space will grow and become bigger but agency will not necessarily shrink, it will form more than half of our business in a much larger pie,” he said.

Read: More to come in AIA's digitalisation push

In five years’ time, Mr Leonardi expects alternative distribution to be Generali’s second largest channel and proportionately other channels, including bancassurance will reduce.

Focus areas

Mr Leonardi has outlined a three-pronged plan for the business: To focus on market segments where it can deliver a strong proposition to customers; to improve on core competencies such as agency, technology and core customer propositions; and to accelerate organic growth through distribution deals which expands the company’s footprint.

Generali Asia is very much focused on growing its health portfolio, particularly in products such as critical illness. In this regard, it already writes a significant amount of business in China, Thailand and Hong Kong, with Indonesia and Vietnam seen as important markets for future growth.

Read: Reform coming for China's 8 million-strong insurance sales force

Asia a growth driver

Asia is an important part of the Generali growth story, with the region one of the largest contributors of new business for the group. Its gross written premiums has grown at a five-year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in excess of 30% in the region, where it operates across eight markets.

“About one-third of growth in new business value for the group comes from Asia and it’s a key metric that we want to continue to succeed. We’ve been growing strongly and we are very optimistic about where we are going,” he said.

Asia Insurance Review subscribers can read the full interview with Roberto Leonardi here.

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