Aegon-CNOOC Life Insurance Company, a joint venture company owned by Dutch insurance specialist Aegon and the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation, has received a license from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission to commence life insurance activities in the country's eastern Zhejiang province, allowing the group to further its presence in China.

Aegon and the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) first established the 50:50 joint venture company in Shanghai. Since then, the partners have expanded into businesses in Beijing and throughout the prosperous coastal provinces of Jiangsu and Shandong. The regions of China where Aegon-CNOOC is currently active include a population of more than 200 million people.

In recent years, the Zhejiang insurance sector has witnessed strong growth. In 2006, the province generated total life insurance premiums of approximately RMB23 billion, up 12% compared with 2005.

The new Zhejiang branch will offer a comprehensive range of life, accident and health products through a broad range of distribution channels, including banks, tied agents, brokers and direct marketing.

China represents one of Aegon’s key growth markets, given the significant potential in the coming years for life insurance and related products, said Aegon chairman and CEO Donald Shepard. In the last couple of years, Aegon-CNOOC has been able to gain access to promising new provinces in China and to develop a solid platform for further expansion. We welcome this opportunity to continue our expansion strategy to serve the developing needs of the citizens of Zhejiang.