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Indonesia's Sequis Life joins microinsurance game

Nippon Life affiliate eyes low-cost plans as key to cracking tough market

JAKARTA -- Indonesian insurer Asuransi Jiwa Sequis Life will debut microinsurance plans targeting low-income customers, hoping to cultivate a new avenue for growth amid weak demand for more expensive policies.

The company, in which Nippon Life Insurance owns a 20% stake, looks to bundle the new policies with motorcycle loans provided by Mitsui & Co. unit Bussan Auto Finance. They initially will be available at certain Bussan Auto Finance locations by the end of the year, then eventually at all 250 or so branches in the country.

One year of coverage will require a monthly premium of just 6,250 rupiah (46 cents), with payouts reaching 20 million rupiah if the policyholder dies and 300,000 rupiah in case of surgery.

Fewer than 2% of Indonesians have life insurance, and growth in this space has been slow. Sequis Life CEO Tatang Widjaja plans to increase the number of salespeople from 13,000 to over 20,000 to better capture demand among lower-income households. He also aims to reach new customers by partnering with services such as ride-hailing apps.

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