Hong Kong-based insurer AIA raises interim dividend

Hong Kong-based insurer AIA raises interim dividend

HONG KONG - Insurer AIA Group Ltd raised its interim dividend on Tuesday and recorded a jump in the first-half new value as it recovered from pandemic-led business disruptions in most of its main markets apart from Hong Kong.

The Asia-focused insurer's value of new business, which measures expected profit from new premiums and is a gauge for future growth, rose by 22% to $1.81 billion in the period January-to-July.

VONB leapted 15% in the Hong Kong market of AIA, helping the company increase its interim dividend by 8.6% to 38.000 Chinese cents per share.

All reportable segments exceeded mainland Chinese levels in the first half of 2019 except Hong Kong, where ongoing travel restrictions have affected new business sales to pre-pandemic visitors, Chief Executive Officer Lee Yuan Siong said.

AIA and other insurers in Hong Kong had previously gotten a large share of their sales from selling insurance products to China visitors seeking better products and overseas investment opportunities in Hong Kong.

In Asia, insurance firms mainly rely on their army of agents for product sales, which have been dented by lockdowns and social distancing measures put in place by various countries to contain the pandemic, though AIA, like peers, has been trying to sell more products online.

Although the lasting effects of the Pandemic are far from over, I am confident our businesses with innovative technologies and digital tools that enable them to navigate disruption better than before, Lee said.