ING Capital Life Insurance Company, ING Groep's joint venture with Beijing Capital Group, has signed an agreement with the Hong Kong-headquartered Bank of East Asia (BEA) to distribute ING Capital Life products from its Dalian branch.

The cooperation is said to mark the start of the first bancassurance agreement between a Sino-foreign insurer and a foreign bank in Dalian.

According to ING, the cooperation, which comes into effect immediately, will include the sale of ING Capital Life’s group life insurance products in China via the bank’s Wealth Management Consulting Centre. However, individual life products will not be sold via BEA regulatory approval of the bank’s special individual RMB business qualification has been issued. This is anticipated by the end of 2006.

Mr Bartholomew Ng, manager for China at ING Insurance, said: ING Capital Life agreement further supports our diversification of the distribution channels of our insurance products. Bancassurance is an increasingly important means of reaching our customers and in 2005 the share of ING’s total annualized premium equivalent sold via banks across the region rose to 22% from 14% in 2004.