SUMMARY FOR THE THIRD QUARTER
VONB grew to US$980 million, up by 1 per cent compared to the third quarter of 2018. Growth from our proprietary agency and bancassurance channels was offset by a substantial decline in VONB through the retail IFA channel in Hong Kong. The Group’s VONB grew by 14 per cent in the third quarter of 2019 excluding Hong Kong.
Our Hong Kong business reported a double-digit reduction in VONB in the third quarter. Double-digit VONB growth from domestic customers was offset by a decline in VONB from Mainland Chinese visitors which broadly tracked the reduction in overall visitor arrivals to Hong Kong reported in July and August.
AIA’s wholly-owned operation in Mainland China continued to deliver very strong VONB growth and was our fastest-growing reportable market segment in the third quarter. Our differentiated Premier Agency recruitment and training programmes have supported a further increase in both new recruits and numbers of active agents. Early results from our newly-opened sales and service centres in Tianjin and Shijiazhuang, Hebei have been encouraging and we are continuing our preparations in anticipation of potential further geographical expansion in due course.
Our Thailand operation delivered growth from both our agency and partnership channels to generate solid overall VONB growth. Our ongoing agency transformation provided a further increase in active agent productivity and our partnership with Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited continued to make strong progress.
AIA’s business in Singapore reported unchanged VONB compared to the third quarter of 2018 as lower single premium business offset regular premium growth. In Malaysia, we delivered solid VONB growth, driven by growth from both our agency and partnership channels.
VONB growth from Other Markets was led by strong performances from our businesses in the emerging ASEAN countries of Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. AIA Australia reported lower VONB due to the timing of large group schemes, as previously reported. Excluding the impact of these large group schemes, Other Markets delivered double-digit growth in VONB compared to the third quarter of 2018.
Overall, ANP decreased by 8 per cent compared with the third quarter of 2018 to US$1,444 million. VONB margin improved to 67.0 per cent, up 6.0 pps, mainly driven by a positive shift in both product and geographical mix, operating assumption changes and the positive effect of a tax rule change that increased the tax deductibility of commissions in Mainland China. Margin reported on a present value of new business premium (PVNBP) basis increased to 12 per cent from 10 per cent in the third quarter of 2018. Long-term economic assumptions remain unchanged from those shown in our Annual Report 2018, following the same approach that we have applied consistently for quarterly new business highlights. TWPI increased by 8 per cent to US$8,168 million, compared with the third quarter of 2018.