Following is the speech by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Frederick Ma, at the Asia Pacific Insurance Managers Convention 2004, organised by the General Agents and Managers Association of Hong Kong Limited today (June 9) (English only):
Good Morning, Mr Wong, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to join you today at the Asia Pacific Insurance Managers Convention 2004. I would like to extend my warm welcome to you all, particularly those who come from various places of the region. I also wish to congratulate the General Agents and Managers Association of Hong Kong, GAMA, on successfully hosting the convention in the Asia Pacific region for the first time.
With 186 insurers, Hong Kong has the highest concentration of insurers in the region. In the past decade, the Hong Kong insurance industry has sustained continuous, double-digit growth every year. In 2003, the total revenue premiums of long term in-force business surged to US$10 billion, representing an increase of 14.1% over 2002. New office premiums in 2003 also recorded an impressive growth of 23.5% over 2002, amounting to US$3.2 billion. For the first quarter of this year, the life insurance business in Hong Kong has been boosted by the strong performance of our economy, with new office premium achieved a record growth of 112% over the same period last year.
This remarkable growth would not have been achieved without the dedication and professionalism of our insurance practitioners. Indeed, we need devoted insurance agents and managers, who are committed to serving the insuring public with the highest professional standard and ethics, to continue to strive for healthy development of the insurance industry and to maintain Hong Kong's position as an insurance centre in the region.
The rapid development in IT, the convergence of financial services and the opening up of the insurance market in the Mainland will bring new challenges and opportunities to the local insurance industry. To keep pace with these changes and maintain their competitive edge, our insurance practitioners have to widen their spectrum of knowledge and enhance their expertise through lifelong learning.
The convention today is an ideal forum for participants to exchange ideas and share experience with outstanding speakers from different sectors and different places in the region. Such sharing will no doubt give valuable insights into enhancing the professional knowledge and skills of the insurance practitioners. I sincerely hope that the participants would make the best use of this convention to add value to their professional development.
As one of the representative agents' organisations in Hong Kong, GAMA has been playing an important role in upgrading the professional standard and image of insurance practitioners. Since its establishment in Hong Kong in 1994, the association has been dedicated to promoting professionalism and ethics of life insurance practitioners by organising training courses, seminars and conventions. I wish to thank GAMA for its achievements in the past 10 years, and am confident that it will continue with its good work in the years ahead.
Before closing, let me wish you all a very rewarding Convention and for those visiting Hong Kong, a very pleasant stay in this Asia's World City.
Ends/Wednesday, June 9, 2004