AIA Group Limited (the"Company"; stock code: 1299) today announces financial results for the six months ended 30 June 2022.
Growth rates are shown on a constant exchange rate basis:
New business performance
Earnings and capital
Lee Yuan Siong, AIA's Group Chief Executive and President, said:
"AIA has delivered a resilient performance in the first half of 2022. Sales momentum in the second quarter improved as the temporary disruption caused by the initial outbreak of the Omicron variant declined and we delivered positive VONB growth in June.
"Our growing high-quality in-force portfolio supported an increase in both OPAT and UFSG(1). The Group's financial position remained very strong with free surplus increasing to US$20.6 billion and a Group LCSM cover ratio(2) of 277 per cent despite the significant stress in capital markets. EV Equity was US$72.3 billion, representing an increase of 3 per cent in the first half before the return of US$3.0 billion to shareholders through our share buy-back programme and payment of the 2021 final dividend.
"The Board has declared a 6 per cent increase in the interim dividend to 40.28 Hong Kong cents per share. This follows AIA's established prudent, sustainable and progressive dividend policy, allowing for future growth opportunities and the financial flexibility of the Group.
"AIA's wide adoption of technology, digital and analytics throughout the Group continues to enhance our business capabilities and resilience. Our agents rapidly switched from in-person to digital remote sales, helping to offset the effect of the initial Omicron wave on face-to-face sales activities, and leveraged our social-media-integrated leads management platforms as a powerful way to generate new customer leads. Agency new business momentum increased month-on-month in the second quarter and we returned to VONB growth in June. In July, AIA was ranked the number one global Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) multinational for a record eighth year in a row, demonstrating our consistent focus on high-quality and professional advice.
"Our strategic partnerships with leading banks delivered double-digit VONB growth in the first half, driven by very strong performances in Hong Kong, Malaysia and India. Overall, our partnership distribution business reported a positive increase in the first half and strong VONB growth in the second quarter, supported by double-digit growth in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines and a material contribution from our partnership with The Bank of East Asia, Limited (BEA).
"While sales activity in the second quarter for AIA China was substantially affected by stringent containment measures in Shanghai, Suzhou and Beijing, we achieved positive VONB growth across our other geographies. In the first half, VONB was lower due to the restrictions and following a record result in the first half of 2021, which was driven by an exceptionally high level of traditional protection sales, as previously reported. Our high-quality Premier Agency model remained resilient with growth in active agent productivity, new recruits and the overall agency force. As restrictions reduced across our operations, AIA China achieved positive VONB growth in July.
"The Mainland Chinese life insurance market remains significantly underpenetrated and offers tremendous growth potential for AIA. We continue to make strong progress in geographical expansion and our new branch in Wuhan, Hubei province, commenced sales in the first half, making a strong contribution to the excellent VONB growth from our new geographies. In May, we received regulatory approval to prepare a new branch in Henan, the third most populous province in Mainland China.
"In the first half of 2022, AIA Hong Kong delivered 3 per cent growth in VONB, supported by growth in both agency and partnership distribution channels. Sales momentum in our domestic customer segment rebounded from May as daily infections subsided. While travel across the Hong Kong border remains limited, we delivered strong VONB growth from sales to Mainland Chinese visitors through our Macau branch.
"The rest of the Group generated close to 50 per cent of total VONB in the first half of 2022 with progressive improvements in sales activities in the second quarter. In June, our market-leading ASEAN businesses returned to growth with a very strong double-digit increase in VONB.
"Tata AIA Life, our joint venture in India, is well positioned to capture the significant opportunities available in the life insurance market. We achieved excellent VONB growth in the first half, supported by the success of our multi-channel distribution platform. Our highly-digitalised Premier Agency delivered very strong increases in recruitment, agency leaders, active agents and productivity. We continued to strengthen relationships with a wide range of bank partners and brokers and generated excellent VONB growth in our partnership channel.
"I am confident that the long-term prospects for AIA's broad and diverse business remain exceptional. AIA's geographical diversity across Asia and our unrivalled distribution platform are key strengths. We are focused on the disciplined execution of our strategic priorities which will continue to deliver long-term sustainable value for all our stakeholders."