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Swiss insurer Zurich takes foothold in Indonesia

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Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services said on Monday it had gained a foothold in Indonesia’s fast growing life insurance market with an agreement to buy 80 percent of Indonesian firm PT Mayapada Life

The Swiss group said the acquisition would mark the first step in its expansion plans in Indonesia — one of the world’s most populous nations with some 240 million inhabitants — and a building block for business growth in Asia.

Mayapada’s eponymous parent group will continue to hold 20 percent of the company, Zurich said in a statement. The deal is due to be concluded in the third quarter, subject to regulatory approval.

“The acquisition of Mayapada Life is a first step in Zurich Life’s expansion plans in Indonesia,” said Mario Greco, chief executive of Zurich’s Global Life section. “The Mayapada Group will be a strong local partner as we seek to build key relationships to grow our business in the Asia-Pacific region,” he added.

Greco also highlighted the “rapidly growing” portion of the Indonesian population with savings and insurance needs. Jakarta-based Mayapada Life had gross written premiums of 1.7 million dollars (1.43 million euros) at the end of 2009.

Stefan Schuermann, an analyst at Vontobel Bank, said Indonesia’s life insurance market was very attractive. “This small acquisition corresponds to ZFS’s expansion strategy for life insurance in developing nations,” he said.

Zurich, June 7, 2010 (AFP)