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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Insurance industry records first half contraction but remains optimistic

Insurance industry records first half contraction but remains optimistic

Ministry of Economy and Finance due to release detailed figures on first six months in August, but early results suggest decline up to end of June compared to the same period last year

THE government and the insurance industry expressed optimism about sector growth this year, despite warning that the environment in the first six months of 2009 was worse than the same period last year.

In Meatra, the head of the insurance division in the finance department of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), said the overall situation remained positive.

"Insurance companies are generally sound and healthy in terms of their cash position, and there were fewer claims in the first half of this year," In Meatra said.

His division is currently collating the financial statements from the nation's insurance firms, he said, and official figures for revenue premiums would not be available until next month.

Insurance companies are generally sound and healthy in terms of their cash position.

In Meatra said the global economic crisis had indirectly hurt the sector.
"The crisis has affected garment exports, so there have been some cancellations or reductions of some of the less important premiums for garment factories," he said. "However, it hasn't resulted in the wholesale cancellation of premiums because those factories that remain open still need to insure their risk."
The Kingdom has five insurance companies: Forte Insurance, Asia Insurance, Caminco, Infinity Insurance and Campubank Lonpac. In Meatra said there is also one reinsurance company.

He said the industry generated revenue premiums of US$20.5 million, an increase of 18 percent on the previous year.
"Our ambition is to achieve the same growth as last year, but it might fall short due to the crisis," he said. "I am not going to predict how much it will grow this year, but it will still likely be double-digit growth."

David Carter, chief executive officer of Infinity Insurance, said the global economic crisis had delivered a small impact.
"We're ahead of last year but the sales environment is not as favourable," Carter said. "However we aren't seeing any unusual changes in claims at this stage."

Carter said the market should increase 10 percent this year, adding that Infinity is on track to meet or exceed that.
Duong Vibol, managing director of newly privatised Caminco, said the global economic crisis had not overly affected his company.

"That's because our main premiums are from auto insurance," he said. "Our net income last year was $100,000 and we are forecasting growth of between 10 and 15 percent this year."

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