ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
BNI Life aims to join the big league in 2019
Life insurer BNI Life — a subsidiary of state lender Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) — aims to be among the top five insurance firms in terms of new business premiums by 2019 as it seeks to capitalize fresh funds from its new shareholder, Japan’s Sumitomo Life Insurance Company.
BNI Life president director Budi Tampubolon said the company was eyeing the top-five list, an achievement that would propel its position from 13th place last year.
“We have formulated a new business plan that will see us optimize our relations with existing shareholders,” he said in a discussion held recently.
BNI Life is currently 60 percent controlled by BNI and 40 percent owned by Sumitomo. The latter officially became a stakeholder in the life insurer in May 2014, after completing an Rp 4.2 trillion (US$323.25 million) acquisition of shares.
Following the acquisition, the firm’s risk-based capital (RBC) ratio now stands at 2,500 percent, much higher than the 120 percent benchmark set by the financial regulator.
The RBC ratio is commonly used to determine the capital adequacy of a life insurance company.
Supported by the increase in capital, Budi said that BNI Life was looking to improve its information technology (IT) system, boost the number of its agents, open new branches and develop more bancassurance business with parent company BNI.
“In bancassurance, we hope to be present in all of BNI’s branches. At the moment, we are present at 800 branches, covering only half of BNI’s network,” he said.
BNI Life commissioner Masaya Honjo, who sits as one of Sumitomo’s representatives in the firm, said the Japanese company was bringing in its own expertise to assist BNI Life in fulfilling its target.
“Sumitomo has the largest bancassurance business in Japan right now and it possesses the IT expertise as well. If we can implement that expertise in BNI Life, I’m sure we can enter the top five even sooner, in less than five years,” he told reporters.
For this year alone, BNI has set its total premium income target at Rp 3.8 trillion. If achieved, it will see the figure climb by more than double from the Rp 1.5 trillion posted in its 2014 unaudited financial report.
In terms of net profit, it is eyeing as much as Rp 280 billion, also more than double the Rp 128 billion reaped in 2014.
“We are optimistic because by the end of January, we already booked Rp 35 billion in net profit. If we continue at the same pace, we may surpass the net profit target by year-end,” explained Budi.
Meanwhile, Yap Tjay Soen, BNI Life president commissioner, who is also BNI finance director, said he believed the life insurer would be able to provide better fee-income business for the bank compared to previous years.
Data from BNI shows that insurance made up for Rp 1.07 billion — equal to 0.5 percent only — of its fee-based income in the consumer and retail segment in 2014.
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