Generali buys AXA's insurance biz in MY, no imminent leadership changes

Italian insurance company Generali is acquiring AXA’s insurance businesses in Malaysia for about RM1,290 million. Under the agreement, Generali will acquire the 49.99% stake that AXA has in AXA Affin General Insurance and its 49% stake in AXA Affin Life Insurance.

According to Generali, the acquisitions will position Generali as one of the leading insurers in the Malaysian market, creating the second property and casualty insurer by market share and entering the country’s life insurance segment. The expected completion date of the acquisition is in the second quarter of 2022. 

At the same time, Generali is also looking to acquire the remaining shares of MPI Generali Insurans held by its Malaysian joint venture partner, Multi-Purpose Capital Holdings. The transactions are subject to the approval of the Malaysian Minister of Finance and the Central Bank of Malaysia. Generali's spokesperson told A+M that this process can take up to 12 months. 

As a result, Generali said it will operate in Malaysia through two companies – one in the property and casualty segment and the other in the life segment. In the property and casualty segment, Generali plans to merge the businesses of MPI Generali with AXA Affin General Insurance, increasing its stake to around 70% in both entities. Affin Bank will hold the remaining 30%.

When asked about potential leadership changes in the marketing team, Generali's spokesperson told A+M that as the transaction is currently still awaiting regulatory approval, there will be no changes in any key senior leadership for the immediate future. "MPI Generali will operate and make decisions as per our current practice. As a next step, we will work on a new structure that is suitable to leading the new companies," the spokesperson said.

Similarly, AXA's spokesperson declined to comment on the transaction, but assured that it is "business as usual for the company." The spokesperson added: "We will remain focused in fulfilling our commitment to better serve our customers and partners,"

According to Jaime Anchústegui Melgarejo, CEO international, Generali Group, the transactions are aligned with Generali’s strategy to strengthen its leadership position in high potential markets such as Malaysia. He added that it represents "a very attractive opportunity" as it is home to a growing middle-class population and with an insurance penetration rate that is still relatively low compared to other more mature markets in the Asian region.

Last week, AXA Affin rolled out an extension of its COVID-19 complimentary support fund introduced in February this year, to continue reaching out to meet the immediate needs of its customers. According to The Star, its key aim was to support the health and well-being of AXA Affin life insurance customers by providing immediate relief in the form of cash assistance.

Two years ago, AXA Affin General Insurance saw a change in its marketing leadership when then CMO Rebecca Tan joined Generali Life Hong Kong as chief distribution and marketing officer. She was previously with AXA for eight years and was responsible for marketing and digital strategy, product segmentation and development, brand and communication management, customer experience management, as well as the development of bancassurance and eCommerce distribution.

Meanwhile, Affin Bank collaborated with Tealive earlier this year in April, integrating the latter's Tealive 3.0 concept store into one of Affin Bank's branches situated within Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Puncak Alam campus. Loob Holding's founder and CEO Bryan Loo said that UiTM Puncak Alam was chosen as it is the largest of all UiTM universities, with about 20,000 students and 2,000 employees, which was "perfect for Tealive to gain closer engagement with students to continue building brand equity in the market".

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