SUMMARY FOR THE FIRST QUARTER
VONB increased by 18 per cent to US$1,169 million with strong growth from both agency and partnership distribution compared to the first quarter of 2018.
AIA’s wholly-owned operation in China was our fastest growing reportable market segment and delivered excellent VONB growth in the first quarter of 2019. The consistent execution of our differentiated Premier Agency strategy has delivered a further strong increase in both active agents and productivity as we continue to focus on the financial needs of consumers. We have also begun preparatory work on the new sales and service centres in Tianjin and Shijiazhuang, Hebei.
Hong Kong generated strong double-digit VONB growth in the first quarter of 2019, driven by both our agency and partnership distribution channels. Agency growth was supported by an increase in the number of active agents. VONB grew for both domestic and Mainland Chinese visitor customer segments.
VONB growth at AIA Thailand was supported by encouraging progress from our partnership with Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited where we have seen strong momentum from recruitment and enhanced productivity of insurance specialists. Continued progress with our agency transformation delivered a further increase in active agent productivity.
AIA Singapore reported lower VONB compared to the first quarter of 2018 as higher VONB margin was offset by the reduction in single premium unit-linked business compared to the previous year, following a regulatory change in October 2018.
VONB in Malaysia was flat with market conditions remaining challenging. In agency, targeted recruitment and training delivered growth in active new agents while bancassurance reported VONB growth.
Other Markets reported very strong VONB growth in the first quarter of 2019 led by excellent performances from our businesses in the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and Australia (which includes New Zealand). Australia’s VONB growth was supported by the inclusion of Sovereign in New Zealand and the renewal of a large group scheme in Australia.
Overall, ANP increased by 11 per cent compared with the first quarter of 2018 to US$1,827 million. VONB margin improved to 63.6 per cent, up from 59.7 per cent, mainly driven by positive changes in geographical mix and operating assumption changes reflecting sustained positive experience. Margin reported on a present value of new business premium (PVNBP) basis increased to 11 per cent from 10 per cent in the first quarter of 2018. Long-term economic assumptions remain unchanged from those shown in our Annual Report 2018, following the same approach that we have applied consistently for quarterly new business highlights. TWPI increased by 18 per cent to US$8,276 million, compared with the first quarter of 2018, reflecting the continuing effect of adding high-quality new business to our large in-force portfolio.