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FSC rejects AXA subsidiary's application for Taiwan branch

2012/05/24 23:27:53

Taipei, May 24 (CNA) Taiwan's top financial regulator rejected Thursday an application filed by a subsidiary of AXA SA, Europe's second-largest insurer, to establish a branch in Taiwan, marking the first time the regulator has rejected an application by a foreign insurer.

Officials at the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said AXA's Bermuda-based insurer failed to obtain approval documents from Bermuda authorities.

The approval documents should be filed along with the application, according to Taiwan's regulations governing foreign insurers' establishment of subsidiaries and branches in Taiwan.

Chen Kai-yuan, deputy director of the commission's Insurance Bureau, said the group, due to its patchy track record in Taiwan, also failed to convince regulators its long-term commitment to the localmarket.

The France-based AXA SA first established a branch in Taiwan under the name of National Mutual Life Insurance Co., but sold its entire business to Aegon Life Insurance (Taiwan) Inc. in 2001, marking its first exit from the Taiwanese market.

In 2006, AXA acquired the Swiss-based Winterthur Insurance, which owned a subsidiary in Taiwan. The group sold the subsidiary to Taiwan Life Insurance Co. in 2007, marking its second exit from Taiwan.

The group submitted its application to open a branch in Taiwan to the FSC on Jan. 16. Local media reported that AXA promised to maintain its presence in Taiwan for at least ten years.

The group's spokesperson said Thursday that the company was "shocked" upon hearing FSC's decision to reject the application and said it is deliberating ways to proceed with the bid.

(By Wu Chin-chun and Ann Chen)