Our insurance operations in Asia also continued to expand. Sales in the Philippines were up 74%, expanding on our number one market position and reflecting both the successful integration of the Grepa Sun Life acquisition as well as strong execution in our new bancassurance partnership with Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation.
Sales in China were up 35% and Sun Life Everbright Insurance marked its 10th anniversary during the quarter, now serving more than 8.5 million customers in 100 branches in China.
Sales declined in India where we continue to see the impact of regulatory change, and this was a driver of the overall 3% decline in Asian sales in the quarter. Net sales in Asia are lumpier than we’d like, reflecting in part the fact that we operate in both mature markets like Hong Kong and the Philippines, and immature markets like India, China and Indonesia. On a year-to-date basis, we’re pleased to see individual insurance sales up 15% in Asia over prior year. Asia net income declined in the quarter primarily due to lower interest rates in Hong Kong. Again, net income is lumpier than we’d like but we continue to see significant upside in our Asian income over the coming years.
As part of our Asian strategy, we’re expanding our footprints in the fast-growing ASEAN region. During the quarter, we announced an agreement to create a joint venture life insurance company in Vietnam called PVI Sun Life Insurance. Our partner, PVI Insurance, is a leading property and casualty insurer in Vietnam with 95 regional offices, 25 branches and our new business will combine Sun Life’s product and risk capabilities with PVI’s customer base and branch network for distribution. PVI Sun Life will start operations in the second half of 2012.In the United States, we’re hitting our key milestones in Employee Benefits and Voluntary Benefits. In Voluntary, we’ve now hired 17 experienced external sales leaders, which is our target for the year, and we’ve created an internal sales desk with five sales professionals. In June, we launched our first three products customized for the Voluntary market and have further launches on track for the fall. Total sales in our Employee Benefits Group increased 13%, including more than 50% growth in Voluntary Benefits sales over the same period last year.
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