Hang Seng Life recorded a 68 per cent year on year growth in sales of new life policies in the first half, reflecting increased competition between banks and insurance companies. This ranked Hang Seng Life - an equal joint venture between Hang Seng Bank and HSBC Life - as the No 2 seller in the market for the period, according to the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers. Hong Kong's largest player, American International Assurance, retains the top spot, with a 21.75 per cent share of new life sales and a year on year premium income of HK$425.46 million. Hang Seng Life followed with a 10.7 per cent share and year on year income of HK$345.38 million. Next was Canadian insurer Manulife International (10.46 per cent) and Britain's Prudential Assurance (10.17 per cent). Chan Kin-por, assistant general manager and head of insurance at Hang Seng Bank, said people are now more willing to buy insurance products from banks. 'The concept of bancassurance, which refers to a single financial institution offering both bank and insurance products, is increasingly popular in Hong Kong,' Mr Chan said. Hang Seng's branch network has been an effective tool in competing with larger teams of agents working for insurance firms.