Manulife Hong Kong reports year-over-year core earnings growth for the 20th consecutive quarter
August 23, 2022
New business value (NBV) margin reached a record high with product mix shifting further towards health and protection in the second quarter
Agent numbers recorded the highest growth rate among Hong Kong's large-scale life insurance companies with agency forces 
Growth in quarterly core earnings demonstrated continued resilience despite impact of the prolonged pandemic on annualized premium equivalent (APE) sales
Hong Kong – The Manulife group of companies operating in Hong Kong and Macau (“Manulife Hong Kong” or the “Company”) today announced financial results for the second quarter of 2022, which demonstrated the continued resilience of its business and distribution channels, especially its agency force. The Company posted its 20th consecutive quarter of year-over-year core earnings growth, with improved overall margins driven by a higher proportion of health and protection policies sold during the pandemic.
“Manulife Hong Kong reported solid results with year-over-year core earnings growth in both the first half and second quarter of 2022, despite the challenges posed by the continued impact of the fifth COVID-19 wave in Hong Kong and the recent tightening of social distancing measures in Macau,” said Pankaj Banerjee, InterimChief Executive Officer of Manulife Hong Kong and Macau. “Although APE sales were hit by the prolonged pandemic, we are glad to see our customers become more aware of health risks, translating to higher demand for health and protection products, which accounted for 29% of our new business in the second quarter compared to 24% in the prior year quarter.”
Core earnings in the first half of 2022 grew by 1% to HK$3.40 billion from HK$3.35 billion in the same period last year. Second quarter 2022 core earnings were HK$1.69 billion, up 1% from HK$1.66 billion in the prior year quarter. The increases reflected in-force business growth in the second quarter and the first half of 2022, partially offset by lower new business volumes amid the impact of COVID-19.
APE sales in the first half of 2022 were HK$2.36 billion, down 27% from HK$3.22 billion in the same period of 2021. Second quarter 2022 APE sales dropped 32% to HK$1.05 billion from HK$1.52 billion in the prior year quarter. The decrease in sales in the second quarter and the first half of 2022 was driven by the continued effect of COVID-19 in Hong Kong and tighter containment measures in Macau.
In the first half of 2022, NBV declined 24% to HK$1.75 billion from HK$2.27 billion in the prior year period. Second quarter 2022 NBV was HK$0.84 billion, down 28% from HK$1.15 billion in the prior year quarter. The decrease in NBV in the second quarter and the first half of 2022 was due to lower sales volumes. NBV margin reached a record high of 80.5% in the second quarter of 2022 and 74.1% in the first half of 2022, an increase of 4.7 percentage points and 3.4 percentage points, respectively, compared with the corresponding periods in the prior year, reflecting favourable health and protection product mix.
Manulife Hong Kong was the largest Mandatory Provident Funds (MPF) provider with a market share of 26.7% based on assets under management as at June 30, 2022, up 1.7 percentage points from a year ago. It was also the number one MPF provider in terms of estimated net cash flows, which stood at 36.8% for the period from April 1 to June 30, 2022.
As at June 30, 2022, Manulife Hong Kong had a professional agency force of 11,479, representing a 6% increase over the prior 12 months. Compared with a decline in the number of agents for the Hong Kong industry overall, Manulife Hong Kong recorded the highest growth rate among large-scale life insurers over the past 12 months.
“We are proud of our expanding agency force, whose outperformance in the 2022 Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) Top 100 Companies (Global) ranking demonstrated its exceptional resilience throughout the pandemic. We topped the MDRT Court of the Table (COT) membership chart in the Hong Kong market and took the No. 2 spot in Hong Kong and the No. 4 spot globally in terms of the number of financial advisors attaining the prestigious MDRT membership,” said Mr. Banerjee.
In regard to product offerings, Manulife Hong Kong has extended its basic individual life insurance coverage to customers diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The Company also announced an expanded definition of family, enabling customers to name policy beneficiaries from an expanded list of family members and same-sex married partners to purchase life insurance policies for their loved ones where insurable interest exists.
To help customers prepare for retirement, children’s education or other financial goals, in Hong Kong or overseas, Manulife Hong Kong launched the ManuGlobal Saver in May 2022. Available in seven currencies, the plan has a currency switch option which allows customers to change the policy currency to meet their evolving needs at different life stages, or when the dynamic global market presents new opportunities.
“As the longest continuously operating life insurer in Hong Kong, Manulife has been committed to protecting our customers and investing in the community over the past 125 years. With the continued surge in demand for health and protection products, on top of our award-winning product suite, we recently launched two new critical illness plans to help customers alleviate financial stress in the event of a critical illness diagnosis. We want them to know that Manulife is always here to support them throughout their medical journey, from diagnosis to treatment to recovery and beyond,” added Mr. Banerjee.
About Manulife Hong Kong
Manulife Hong Kong, through Manulife International Holdings Limited, owns Manulife (International) Limited, Manulife Investment Management (Hong Kong) Limited and Manulife Provident Funds Trust Company Limited. As a member of the Manulife group of companies, Manulife Hong Kong offers a diverse range of protection and wealth products and services to individual and corporate customers in Hong Kong and Macau.
Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services provider, helping people make their decisions easier and lives better. With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we provide financial advice and insurance, operating as Manulife across Canada, Asia, and Europe, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. Through Manulife Investment Management, the global brand for our Global Wealth and Asset Management segment, we serve individuals, institutions, and retirement plan members worldwide. At the end of 2021, we had more than 38,000 employees, over 119,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving over 33 million customers. We trade as 'MFC' on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under '945' in Hong Kong.
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i. Manulife Hong Kong includes all our Hong Kong businesses including insurance, insurance-based wealth accumulation products, and our retirement business.
ii. All percentage changes are stated on a year-over-year basis unless otherwise specified.
iii. Core earnings for Manulife Hong Kong include insurance and insurance-based wealth accumulation products, and exclude our wealth and asset management businesses. Core earnings is a non-GAAP financial measure. For full definition of core earnings, see “Non-GAAP and other financial measures” in Manulife Financial Corporation’s 2Q22 Management’s Discussion and Analysis.
iv. Annualized premium equivalent (“APE”) sales are presented to provide consistency of scope for NBV disclosures and industry practice. APE sales consist of insurance and insurance-based wealth accumulation products, and exclude our wealth and asset management businesses. They comprise 100% of regular premiums/deposits sales and 10% of single premiums/deposits sales.
v. New business value (“NBV”) is the change in embedded value as a result of sales in the reporting period. NBV is calculated as the present value of shareholders’ interests in expected future distributable earnings, after the cost of capital under the local capital requirements in Hong Kong, on actual new business sold in the period using assumptions that are consistent with the assumptions used in the calculation of embedded value. NBV excludes businesses with immaterial insurance risks, such as Hong Kong’s wealth and asset management businesses. NBV is a useful metric to evaluate the value created by Manulife Hong Kong’s new business franchise.
vi. New business value margin (“NBV margin”)is calculated as NBV divided by APE sales excluding non-controlling interests. NBV margin is a useful metric to help understand the profitability of our new business.
vii. MPF market share is measured by share of assets under management and estimated net cash flows by scheme sponsor. Source: Mercer MPF Market Shares Report as at June 30, 2022.