FWD Group, the Hong Kong based insurer, has begun exclusive negotiations to buy Siam Commercial Bank’s (SCB) life insurance business. The deal is valued at nearly US$3 billion and could become the biggest insurance M&A deal in the region. It has been reported that a decision about the deal could be made by late May. Southeast Asia is top of many insurers’ expansion plans due to its low insurance penetration, younger population and emerging economies. If FWD succeeds in acquiring SCB Life Assurance it will greatly expand its existing operation in Thailand, which was worth US$2.2 billion at the end of 2015. AIA Group, Manulife Financial Corp and Prudential Plc were all thought to be in the process to buy SCB Life Assurance, but it has been reported that these negotiations fell through.