German insurance titan Allianz has opened the first Allianz Bancassurance Academy in Shanghai, China, to provide quality training for employees and managers active in this sales channel. The insurance group plans to open more of these academies in the near future.

Bancassurance is expected to become increasingly important in Asia and, at present, Allianz cooperates with 88 bancassurance partners in seven Asian countries. In light of this, the German insurer has a vision to open an Allianz Bancassurance Academy in each of its seven Asian bancassurance markets, where bank agents and managerial staff will be trained to excel in advising customers about insurance products over bank counters.

The group’s first bancassurance academy was jointly launched in China by Allianz China Life and Shanghai University of Finance and Economics on April 27, 2007. Although bancassurance has grown rapidly in China during recent years, the shortage of professional talent is a challenge to the development of this still-new distribution channel. Both employees of cooperating banks and Allianz are expected to benefit from Allianz’s 30+ years of international bancassurance experience by attending the Allianz Bancassurance Academy.

During 2007, approximately 300 junior staff, middle managers and executives are anticipated to enroll for different certificate programs. The curriculum offers a selection of 20 courses encompassing 180 subjects.

The concept of the bancassurance academy will be rolled out to the other Asian markets where Allianz is active in life insurance: India, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand.