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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sharp fall in insurance claims

Sharp fall in insurance claims

130220 07
Firefighters battle a blaze at the June Textiles factory in Phnom Penh in 2011. Insurers reported a dramatic drop in claims last year. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post

Claims in the Kingdom’s six insurance companies declined dramatically last year, while the total premium revenue sharply increased by more than 20 per cent year-on-year, official data from the General Insurance Association of Cambodia (GIAC) show.

GIAC data shows total claims reached $4.8 million, down from $33.5 million in 2011. Total premium revenue was $36 million in 2012, a jump of 21 per cent, though the industry also paid $15.8 million on claims from previous years.

The director general of GIAC, Chhay Rattanak, and other industry players said the decline in claims last year could be attributed to the lack of floods and the fact that most claims were relatively small. As Cambodia’s economy grew, premiums increased as well.

“We didn’t see a big claim last year. This amount is really low compared with the last five years because in the previous years, a few big factories caught fire, but last year we didn’t [have many large claims] – just small from other sectors. The [$15.8] we paid for the big claims occurred many years before,” Rattanak said.

“At the same time, the insurance industry has grown as we expected in terms of premiums. This growth is attributed mainly to the economic performance of the country and people’s awareness of the insurance industry.”

The largest percentage of premium revenues came from fire insurance, at 28 per cent, followed by motor insurance at 19 per cent, miscellaneous at 18 per cent, health insurance at 14 per cent and engineering at 13 per cent.

David W Carter, CEO of Infinity Insurance, said he saw a rise in claims from the medical and motor sectors, while premiums increased by about five per cent last year.

“Claims increased mainly in the medical and motor [sectors], which reflects rising medical costs and more cars on the road. Claims results were in keeping with budget expectations,” he said.

“Our premium revenue for 2012 was $7.1 million, or about five per cent in excess of 2011. This was in keeping with our projections, and reflects our adherence to a disciplined underwriting approach.”

Forte Insurance Director General Youk Chamreounrith also reported a decrease in claims and a rise in revenues last year.

“The claims declined by 3.6 per cent, and I got more than 26 per cent increase in premium revenues last year,” he said. “Last year, I did not see major losses like fire or floods as it was in many previous years, so that is the big contribution to the decline in total claims and rise in revenues for the whole industry.”

Rattanak projected that the industry will continue to grow about 20 per cent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at kunmakara.may@phnompenhpost.com

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