Home > Newsroom > News Releases

Filter by: Year Category Location Go

2007 News Releases

For Immediate Release

November 26, 2007

Manulife Japan Reports Solid Business Performance

Various Sales Indicators Up Including Annualized Premiums and Premium Income
Strong Sales Growth of New Business

Tokyo - Manulife Life Insurance Company (Head Office: Chofu-shi, Tokyo; President and CEO: Geoff Crickmay) (hereinafter called “Manulife Japan”) announces its first half results for fiscal year 2007 (the six-month period from April 2007 through September 2007).

During the period in review, Manulife Japan achieved strong new business growth through ongoing initiatives to expand its sales force and enhance its products, with a focus on improving its products to make them easier for customers to understand and use, based on the Company’s core philosophy of “Customer First”.

In terms of sales, Manulife Japan enjoyed strong sales growth, driven by sales of single premium variable annuity products, including “Bikkuribako,” a new product launched during the period, and sales of regular premium individual insurance as well. As a result, compared to the same period in the prior year, annualized new business premiums*1 and premium income in the period grew significantly, up 62.6% to 24.2 billion yen and up 57.4% to 250 billion yen respectively. These results were also due in part to a one-time factor during the same period in the preceding year in which the Company voluntarily suspended the sales of some of its variable annuity products. During the period in review, New Business sales increased to 483.1 billion yen, up 47.4% from the same period in fiscal year 2006.

With regards to profit-related indicators, both Basic Earnings, a key indicator of earnings in Manulife Japan’s core insurance business, and Operating Income were lower for the period compared to the same period in the prior year, due mainly to a reduction in reinsurance related to individual insurance, which was helped offset by the solid performance of the Company’s individual variable annuity inforce business. Basic Earnings were 2.6 billion yen (38.9% of the total for the same period in the prior year) and Operating Income was 6.6 billion yen (84.6% of the total for the same period in the prior year). On the other hand, the Company’s total assets, as of September 30, 2007, rose by 15.3% on a year-on-year basis to 1,812.3 billion yen, driven by the increase of assets invested in the Company’s individual variable annuities. The Company’s solvency margin ratio was 1,542.6% as of September 30, 2007, a significantly high level indicating the Company’s robust financial strength.

President and CEO Geoff Crickmay made the following statement regarding this period:

“Our continued focus on product innovation and distribution excellence both in universal life insurance products and individual variable annuity products produced significant sales growth during this period, substantially exceeding the results for the same period in fiscal year 2006. In anticipation of full deregulation of insurance sales via banks, Manulife Japan, as an important part of the Manulife Financial Group, the fifth largest life insurance company in the world in terms of market capitalization*2, will strive to secure a leading position in the Japanese market going forward through the thorough execution of “Customer First” as our basic business philosophy.”

FY2007 First Half Business Performance Highlights

Providing Innovative Products Equipped with Cutting-Edge Features
The Company developed a new investment-type annuity insurance product called “Bikkuribako”, which was designed and developed to meet the needs of customers who have been looking for an opportunity to invest their funds in a simple and easy-to-understand manner. Since its successful launch in June 2007, this unique product has sold very well through affiliated financial institutions (four institutions as of September 30, 2007), and is gaining increased awareness among customers, which in turn has accelerated the steady increase in the number of affiliated financial institutions handling the sale of this new product.

In September 2007, a new innovative product, “Manulife Investment-Type Annuity (Annuity Amount Step Up Type),” was introduced by Nomura Securities Co., Ltd through its Head Office and all of its branch offices nationwide. This new product is equipped with a step-up function that provides increased opportunities for customers to step up (increase) the total annuity amount, allowing step up to take place every year instead of every 5 years as in previous products. This product has also generated excitement among customers since its launch.

In May 2007, Manulife Japan commenced sales of two new riders, the “Family Income Protection Rider” and the “Dread Disease Income Protection Rider”*3 developed to enhance its universal insurance products “ManuFlex”, “ManuMed” and “ManuStep”. Sales were launched nationwide through Manulife Japan’s own sales network of professional Sales Representatives (known as PlanRight Advisors, or “PA”). These new riders have been designed to meet the needs of customers who desire to secure sufficient funds for monthly living expenses required for family members in the event of death of the insured, or who would like to secure funds not only for monthly living expenses but also for hospitalization costs and medical expenses in the event the insured develops one of three major diseases (cancer, heart attack, or stroke).

Sales-Related Initiatives and Other Initiatives
Aiming to strengthen its nationwide PA sales force, the Company’s key sales channel, Manulife Japan continues to implement and promote various initiatives, including conducting recruiting seminars designed to attract talented applicants, developing new training programs to further cultivate a higher level of professionalism in PAs, and establishing a special incentive system and training program to further enhance the abilities and motivation of top PAs.

The Company is also actively working to build partnerships with major financial institutions in order to promote the sales of individual variable annuity insurance. As a result, the Company has entered into sales alliances with additional financial institutions, increasing the total number of affiliated financial institutions to 27 as of September 30, 2007.

Effective August 6, 2007, the Company established a new Financial Institutions Development Department as part of its strategic initiative to further expand its sales channels. With the commencement of operations of the Financial Institutions Development Department, Manulife Japan will be able to meet the financial needs of greater numbers of customers across Japan, facilitating its bancassurance business by developing new business relationships with various financial institutions and providing specialized services in preparation for the anticipated full deregulation of insurance sales via banks.

As a good corporate citizen in Japan, Manulife Japan has been actively involved in various initiatives aimed at contributing to the communities in which it does business. During the period in review, in the immediate aftermath of the Niigata Prefecture Chuetsu Offshore Earthquake, Manulife Japan conducted a fundraising campaign, in cooperation with Central Community Chest Japan, to provide emergency assistance to people in the areas affected by the disaster. Manulife Japan’s donation to Central Community Chest Japan totaled 1,461,005 yen, made up of contributions by both Manulife Japan employees and the Company itself.

About Manulife
Manulife Life Insurance Company (“Manulife Japan”), a member company of the Manulife Financial group, holds the highest level "AAA" financial strength rating from Standard & Poor’s, one of the world’s most reliable credit rating agencies (as of the end of October 2007).

Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through John Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$399 billion (US$400.5 billion) as at September 30, 2007.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘0945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com. Manulife Japan can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.co.jp.

*1Annualized premium means the amount of premium per year, calculated by multiplying the amount of the first premium for a new policy by the number of payments made within 12 months after policy issue.
*2As of June 30, 2007
*3Please note that the “Family Income Protection Rider” is not available for the product “ManuMed”.

- 30 -

For information related to this press release please contact:
Manulife Life Insurance Company
Saeko Yoshioka
Communications Department
Tel: 042-442-7180