RHB mulls selling insurance unit to Tokio Marine

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KUALA LUMPUR: RHB Bank said it had received permission from Bank Negara to start talks to sell up to 94.7% of its shares in its general insurance arm to Tokio Marine Asia.

The announcement comes months after Tokio Marine Holdings, one of Japan’s largest property and casualty insurers by market value, said it would actively pursue deals overseas to further diversify its geographic footprint.

RHB Bank said a deal is subject to the finance ministry and Bank Negara’s approval.

Reuters reported here in 2016 that Tokio Marine, which already runs its own life and general insurance businesses in Southeast Asia’s third-biggest economy, could buy out RHB Insurance for as much as US$500 million.

RHB Insurance had total assets of RM1.78 billion (US$431.52 million) and liabilities of RM1.2 billion as of last year.

It is the 10th largest insurer in Malaysia with a 4.4% market share, according to RHB Bank’s 2018 annual report.

It said the insurance business’s gross written premium amount customers are required to pay for insurance coverage rose 14% to RM787 million (US$190.79 million) last year, compared with the industry’s growth rate of 1.5%.