Joint venture to initially focus on variable annuities
The life insurance joint venture between Aegon and Sony Life has obtained final approval from the Japanese regulatory authorities to launch business operations later this year. The 50-50 joint venture – known as Aegon Sony Life Insurance Co., Ltd. (ASLIC) – will initially focus on the sale of variable annuity products which will be distributed through Sony Life’s ‘Lifeplanner’ sales employees, as well as banks and other financial institutions. ASLIC is expected to begin operations in early December.
“We’re pleased that the regulatory authorities in Japan have granted a license to our joint venture,” said Aegon CEO Alex Wynaendts. “We believe that the market for variable annuities in Japan offers strong prospects for growth over the long-term. By combining our product knowledge and risk management expertise with Sony Life’s highly respected brand name and distribution capabilities, we are in a strong position to maximize the opportunities of the Japanese market”.
“We established ASLIC as a life insurance company which focuses and specializes in annuity products,” said Sony Life’s President Taro Okuda. “Through the operations of ASLIC, we shall fully enter into the bancassurance business in Japan. At the same time, annuity products produced by ASLIC will make Sony Life’s ‘Lifeplanner’ sales employees offer all the more solid financial services for the customers”.
Sony Life regards the partnership, established in 2007, as an opportunity to further strengthen its ‘Lifeplanner’ distribution network, particularly by broadening the range of financial products available to customers in Japan. For Aegon, the joint venture with Sony Life marks another step in expanding its operations in Asia. In recent years, the company has built up operations in both China and India, where economic growth and rising levels of personal wealth have led to increased demand for life insurance, pensions and other long-term investment products.
Japan is one of the largest pension markets in the world. Despite the financial crisis, demand for variable annuities in Japan is expected to grow in the years ahead, particularly as the country’s population ages and more savers look to supplement existing state pensions. Japan already has one of the oldest populations in the world, with more than 40% of the population currently over the age of fifty. In addition, a significant proportion of individual savings is held either in cash or on deposit. Japan has the largest pool of personal financial assets in Asia, which is projected to reach nearly USD 19 trillion in 2017.
OUTLINE Aegon SONY LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY
Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan Launch of sale: December 1, 2009 Equity ownership: Sony Life 50%, Aegon 50% Number of employees: 124 (at the launch of sale)
As an international life insurance, pension and investment company based in The Hague, Aegon has businesses in over twenty markets in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Aegon companies employ approximately 29,500 people and have over 40 million customers across the globe. Aegon is a leading provider of variable annuity products in the Americas with USD 3.6 billion in sales as reported in 2008 and USD 33.5 billion in variable annuity balances as of the end of 2008. Aegon aims to transfer products and expertise across its various markets and is in the process of introducing variable annuity products in Europe, based on the success of product features initially introduced in the US market.
Second quarter 2009
Full year 2008
Underlying earnings before tax
EUR 404 million
EUR 1.57 billion
New life sale
EUR 469 million
EUR 2.63 billion
EUR 6.8 billion
EUR 40.75 billion
Revenue generating investments (end of period)
EUR 342 billion
EUR 332 billion
ABOUT SONY LIFE
Sony Life Insurance Co., Ltd., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Financial Holdings Inc. and accounts for the major portion of the Sony Financial Holdings Group in terms of history and scale of business. Sony Life was the first company in Japan which introduced the ‘Lifeplanner’ system’- providing optimal life insurance products tailored to the specific needs of each and every customer based on consulting expertise by Lifeplanner sales employees who possess advanced financial knowledge and abundant experience. Customers' satisfaction from this approach has enabled Sony Life to continue expanding its business each year since it began operations. Sony Life has requested ratings from several agencies to help customers make objective decisions concerning its ability to finance insurance and pay claims and benefits. Standard & Poor’s has assigned Sony Life an A+ rating and describes the Company as offering 'strong' insurer financial strength. Moody’s Investors Service has assigned an Aa3 rating and describes the Company as offering excellent financial security (both as of June 2006). (‘Lifeplanner’ is a registered trademark of Sony Life Insurance Co., Ltd.)
Company Profile (as of the end of March 2009) Establishment: August 1979 Capitalization: JPY 70 billion (100% subsidiary of Sony Financial Holdings) Employees: 5,599 (including 3,891 ‘Lifeplanner’) Total assets: JPY 3,810 billion Insurance policy in force: JPY 32,517 billion (the sum of individual life insurance and individual annuities) Income from insurance premiums and others: JPY 662 billion (Webpage: http://www.sonylife.co.jp/)
Aegon Group Corporate Communications & Investor Relations