Asians Still Hugely Under Insured: AIA CEO

The CEO of Asia's third largest insurance company AIA Group said the majority of Asian citizens are under insured despite soaring growth figures reported by his company on Wednesday.

AIA reported a 27 percent growth in the value of its new business to $1.19 billion, boosted by growth in Thailand and Singapore, but CEO Mark Tucker told CNBC that the company was yet to fully capitalize on growth across Asia and said the region's insurance "pie" was gettinglarger.

"If you look at growth in the region, around 80 percent of the world's growth will come from emerging markets, half of that from China," said Tucker.

"A total of 337 million households are coming into the insurance net in Asia over the next five years, rather than 12 million in the G-7 countries. There are fantastic opportunities. For us, the size of the pie is increasing, rather than having to fight for the same piece of the pie," he added.

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The American International Assurance (AIA) building in Hong Kong.
Antony Dickson | AFP | Getty Images
The American International Assurance (AIA) building in Hong Kong.

According to the AIA CEO, there were huge levels of "under-insurance" in Asia (ex Japan) and the shortfall was estimated to be around $60-70 trillion. "That is the gap between what people need and what people have in insurance and its massive."

Tucker was especially bullish on Chinese growth.

"We think China's economy bottomed in the third quarter of last year. Growth opportunities in the private sector are exciting and leadership changes are positive," he said.

The world's second largest economy, which is getting a new set of leaders next month is expected to grow 8.4 percent in 2013 according to the World Bank.

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Tucker added that the firm had a long way to go before it could compete with the dominant insurance giants within China, such as China Life Insurance Company and China Taiping Insurance Holdings.

"We are the leading foreign player there but compared to the big China companies, we still have a long way to go.

They've had tougher times over the past three years and we continue to grow, however," he said.

AIA recently opened a representative office in Myanmar, but is yet to start operations due to restrictions on foreign investment.

(Slideshow: Myanmar: Now Open for Business)

"Growth won't register on the scale for us there [Myanmar] for a decade plus. It is just the nature of how insurance markets develop, we think 10, 15 or 20 years ahead," he said.