Banks remain a major sales point for insurance products, according to the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, and can be immensely profitable. Shearer Liu, consultant, banking & finance, Talent 2 Beijing, says: “For banks, this model not only widens product ranges but also brings huge profits.”
HSBC Life for instance, recently reported that its bancassurance sales account for 80 per cent of its total revenue in 2010.
Putting people where the money is
The potential for development means bancassurance is seeing healthy growth in recruitment. Liu says: “There is more and more cooperation between banks and insurance firms. Each insurance firm can sell their products through several banks, and vice versa. Every transaction, whether cooperation or dismissal, can result in liquidity in the bancassurance professional market.”
The search for talent is especially significant given recent restrictions on insurers, who are not supposed to assign their own staff to the bank. Hence, there is growing demand for people who have insurance licenses and certificates.
Who’s in demand?
Both local and foreign insurance companies are hiring aggressively for bancassurance professionals, including account managers, and training and business development professionals, say recruiters.
Insurance-linked roles at banks require high knowledge levels, which means training roles are crucial. These employees provide training to relationship managers in bank branches and help to counter the short-term sales slide brought on by regulatory restrictions.
Naturally, insurance products sold via banks have their limitations. Peter Wang, wealth manager of AXA Minmetals Assurance, says bancassurers sell mostly investment-linked insurance, while insurance companies tend to promote a wider range of insurance products such as group, life, medical insurance and other more complex products. Actuaries and underwriters are still mostly employed by insurance companies, not banks.