Unit-linked future at BLA

Unit-linked future at BLA

SET-listed Bangkok Life Assurance Plc (BLA) plans to launch unit-linked products in the first three months of next year to cash in on growing demand in retirement investment and savings, its head says.

Unit-linked products aim to capture matching demand in retirement savings, said president and executive director ML Jiraseth Sukhasvasti.

The company has 1,400 agents with investment consultant licences that are expected to push unit-linked products following the launch, he said.

These agents have expertise in providing investment advice to customers, as seen by the fact that mutual funds sold by them have combined assets under management (AUM) of 12 billion baht, ML Jiraseth said.

Unlike a typical insurance policy, unit-linked products offer holders both life coverage and investment benefits in a single plan.

The company also plans to roll out new insurance policies with protection up to 100 years of age, ML Jiraseth said, with a maximum age of 80 for those who take out a policy.

He said Thai society is becoming an aged society at a faster pace than many other countries, but savings for retirement are inadequate and medical expenses are increasing rapidly.

Although salaried workers are granted sickness, death and disability benefits by the Social Security Fund, the coverage is insufficient to pay for all needs and the fund will face a high financial burden when the majority of the population retires, ML Jiraseth said.

"The life expectancy of Thai children aged nine in 2029 will be 100 years, so retirement savings and insurance products will be necessary," he said.

BLA delivered a 35% increase in net profit to 4.97 billion baht last year, thanks to a 6% rise in investment revenue to 12.8 billion baht.

But total revenue fell 4% to 53.8 billion baht in 2018, weighed by a 8% drop in revenue generated by net premiums to 39.6 billion baht.

BLA shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 28.75 baht, up 25 satang, in trade worth 28.7 million baht.

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