Heath Lambert Joins Taiwan's Insurance Fray

Dec 18, 2003 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Furniture Ι By Judy, CENS
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The arrival in Taiwan of the Heath Lambert Group, the world's sixth-largest reinsurance broker, has ratcheted competition in the domestic insurance market up another notch.

The United Kingdom-based company has set up Heath Lambert Taiwan in cooperation with the United Asia Group (UAG), a local insurance broker. The new venture will concentrate exclusively on reinsurance, and will serve as a bridge between insurance firms in Taiwan and reinsurance houses abroad. Market observers believe that Heath Lambert will break the long-term control of the island's reinsurance industry by a few other large international companies.

A ranking UAG official says that Heath Lambert Taiwan will offer local insurance firms a larger choice of reinsurance services, and recommend the services best suited to their needs.

The arrival of Heath Lambert may in part be the result of the government's efforts to attract foreign investment. Wei Pao-shen, director of the Department of Insurance of the Ministry of Finance (MOF), notes that government policy calls for the strengthening of the domestic insurance industry by bringing in international reinsurance brokers.

Heath Lambert currently has a total of 123 branches and offices worldwide, mostly in Asia-Pacific locations including South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, and mainland China. It takes in more than US$5 billion in premiums annually.

David Way, the group's managing director, comments that Taiwan's potential for the reinsurance business is good, with the island's strong economic power guaranteeing growth. At the same time he says that Heath Lambert Taiwan will serve both life and non-life insurance providers here, and in the future may bring in more special reinsurance businesses such as financial reinsurance, kidnap reinsurance, and reinsurance for other high-end products.
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