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SMG life units aim to boost billing 120% in 2006

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, August 10, 2006
The three Argentine life insurance units of Swiss Medical Group (SMG) are poised to grow billing 120% this year to 240mn pesos (US$78.2mn) compared to 2005 thanks to higher across-the-board sales, SMG Argentina CEO Eduardo Iglesias told BNamericas. The company launched its life annuity company a year ago and it already represents 55% of SMG's total billing in Argentina, Iglesias said. "The Argentine pension and retirement system is only 10 years old, so it is still growing at strong rates. We expect the retirement business to grow 25% annually until 2011 as many people that opted for the capitalization system in 1994 will reach their retirement age over the next few years," Iglesias said. The company's life insurer SMG LIFE - which operates in the personal accident, group and individual life segments - its burial insurance-oriented unit Instituto de Salta and life annuity company SMG LIFE Seguros de Retiro currently service some 1 million customers, Iglesias said. The three units posted a combined 17mn-peso profit at the end of the fiscal year 2006 with total equity of 42mn pesos. Iglesias said the company would keep investing to improve its sales distribution channels and reap the benefits of new products such as Amatista Empresa launched last week, which allows a company owner's heirs to have the first right to purchase the owner's shares in the company should he die. SMG LIFE has grown in the last few years through the acquisitions of MassLife and Principal Financial Group's (NYSE: PFG) Argentine units Principal Life and Principal Retiro. In Argentina, Swiss Medical Group also owns P&C insurer SMG Seguros.

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