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First micro-insurer launches in Kingdom

PREVOIR Kampuchea Micro-life Insurance Plc has launched as the first service of its kind in Cambodia, targeting the country’s lower-income demographic, according to government and company officials.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance issued a licence to PKMI, a subsidiary of French insurer Groupe PREVOIR, in October, and the company opened a Phnom Penh office in October, according to PKMI representative Chou Ngeth.

“We see that Cambodia has quite a lot of potential,” he said, given that micro-insurance is an as yet untapped market.

Groupe PREVOIR, an independent insurance group that specialises in life insurance, was first established since 1910, according to Chou Ngeth.

The company operates five branches outside of France, including Portugal, Poland, Vietnam, Brazil and now Cambodia, he said.

PKMI has already partnered with a Cambodian MFI and is currently in negotiations with other players in the industry, as well as NGOs and banks, Chou Ngeth said. He declined to name of the MFI partner.

In Meatra, who is in charge of the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s insurance division, said PKMI would play an important role in the development of the industry, especially in terms of educating the rural population about insurance.

“The company has a lot of experience with micro-life insurance, so we’re giving them a chance to develop it for low- and medium-income earners who cannot afford high-paid insurance,” he said, confirming also that PKMI was in fact the country’s first micro-insurance firm.

“It’s a long-term investment. If people buy it, it can be another source of financing for the family in the future,” he added. Micro-insurance is presently available in other ASEAN countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, according to In Meatra.

General Insurance Association of Cambodia yesterday said it supported PKMI’s domestic launch, as it would bring insurance to areas of Cambodia were bigger companies had not reached.

“It will help raise awareness about insurance and its benefits among grassroots people. And it will promote the industry as a whole nationwide,” GIAC chairman Chhay Rattanak said.

He added that the micro-insurers would not compete with the Kingdom’s larger insurance firms.

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