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2007 News Releases

For Immediate Release

October 23, 2007

Manulife Expects New Regional Support Centres to Spur Growth in Malaysia

Improving agent professionalism and embracing business innovation are the company’s key strategies for expansion

Kuala Lumpur– Manulife Insurance (Malaysia) Berhad (Manulife Malaysia) is set to embark on a new phase of development in Malaysia by establishing Regional Support Centres in six (6) locations throughout the country.

The Manulife branded Regional Support Centres serve as activity hubs for Manulife to support its multi distribution channel strategy. The Regional Support Centres will support agency, bancassurance and financial advisers with facilities for training, marketing, and customer service available at each location. The Manulife Regional Support Centres are located at the Manulife Malaysia Head Office in Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur; in Petaling Jaya, Selangor; Butterworth, Seberang Perai; Ipoh, Perak; Sibu, Sarawak; and Johor Bahru, Johor.

“Manulife Malaysia will be the first insurer to implement this business development model and we believe the efficiency gains it gives us will spur our growth in this market whilst ensuring that we continue to provide our customers with the best possible service, wherever and whenever they transact with us,” said Mr. Peter Robertson, President & CEO of Manulife Insurance (Malaysia) Berhad.

“Our distributors are the real face of Manulife Malaysia. Currently, we have over 80 agencies throughout Malaysia and as many bank branches that sell Manulife products. In future, our dedicated agents, partner banks and financial advisers will be serviced, trained and supported by our six Regional Support Centres, significantly improving Manulife Malaysia’s organisational efficiency for the benefit of our Malaysian customers,” added Mr. Robertson.GrowthManulife Malaysia’s move is in line with the organisation’s philosophy ofgrowth through business innovation and workforce professionalism. Today’s sophisticated customers have many options to interact with their insurer and many now opt to use the readily available convenience of Internet banking, direct debit and credit card transactions to cut down on the need for traditional branch visits.

Growth
Manulife Malaysia’s move is in line with the organisation’s philosophy of growth through business innovation and workforce professionalism. Today’s sophisticated customers have many options to interact with their insurer and many now opt to use the readily available convenience of Internet banking, direct debit and credit card transactions to cut down on the need for traditional branch visits.

“Our Malaysian customers are telling us similar things to others around the world, that they prefer to transact their business via the internet or telephone rather than having to take time out of their day to visit a branch;” said Mr. Robertson, “in fact, out of more than 270,000 Manulife Malaysia policy holders, less than 1 per cent remain as walk-in customers. This progressive development has reduced our need to have decentralised agency branch offices. To help meet this customer need for added convenience, Manulife Malaysia has introduced a new 1-800-18-2323 toll-free telephone number which will put a friendly voice at the other end of the line for our customers to interact with,” added Mr. Robertson.

As a direct result of this shift, Manulife Malaysia’s distributors are set to play a more important role as the ‘face’ for Manulife. The company is investing considerable resources in improving the professionalism of its insurance agents through special training programs and incentives to assist them in delivering a better overall customer experience to spur growth.

“We are investing in our agents to improve their professionalism because we know they have such an important role to play as advisers. In line with Malaysia’s own focus on developing human capital, we are pleased to note that according to recent industry statistics, we have the highest percentage of full-time insurance agents in the industry at 53 per cent of our total agency force of 1,600 – significantly higher than the industry average of 36 per cent. The fact that such a large proportion of our agents are full time is further evidence of the importance we place on the professionalism and commitment amongst our agents,” said Mr. Robertson.

Manulife Insurance (Malaysia) Berhad recorded operating revenue of RM250.3 million for the period June 30, 2007, an increase of 6.87 per cent or RM16.1 million compared to the corresponding financial period ended June 30, 2006 of RM234.2 million. Profit before taxation was RM63.8 million for the current financial period, 101 per cent or RM32.0 million higher compared to the corresponding financial period ended June 30, 2006 of RM31.8 million.

About Manulife Malaysia
Manulife Insurance (Malaysia) Berhad, established in 1963, is a member of Canada-based Manulife Financial Corporation. Manulife Malaysia offers an innovative range of financial protection and wealth management products and services to meet different customer needs. The Company currently serves the needs of more than 270,000 policyholders and is one of the most financially sound life insurance companies in the country. Manulife Malaysia has been listed on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia since 1984. As at June 30, 2007, Manulife Malaysia’s assets under management were in excess of RM2.7 billion

About Manulife Financial
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$410 billion (US$386billion) as at June 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.

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For more information, please contact:
In Kuala Lumpur
Susan Ong
Tel: (03) 2719-9122
Email: Susan_Ong@manulife.com

 
In Hong Kong:
Catherine Battershill
Tel: (852) 2202 1272
Catherine_Battershill@manulife.com