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Thai life insurer to enter local market

Bangkok Life Assurance expects to offer life insurance policies in Cambodia by the beginning of next year, according to Thai news outlets, adding to the list of international insurers looking to tap into the Kingdom’s nascent but potentially lucrative market.

The Cambodian government granted the Thai-based insurer a licence earlier this year, giving it a green light to set up a joint venture subsidiary in Cambodia with $7 million in registered capital, the reports said.

Bangkok Life holds a controlling stake in the new venture with 52 percent of shares, according to a company release. Indonesia-based PT Asuranci Central Asia holds a 25 percent stake, while Bangkok Insurance Plc owns 15 percent of shares and Asia Financial controls the remaining 8 percent.

Bangkok Life is Thailand’s sixth-biggest life insurer in terms of market share. The company joins Japan’s Dai Ichi Life and rival Thai insurer Muang Thai Life, who announced plans earlier this year to open offices and start operations in the Kingdom.

Four life insurance companies currently operate in the country, where the total premium was $18.5 million during the first half of the year, according to the Insurance Association of Cambodia (IAC).

“Everyone is focusing on spreading awareness and as the insurance companies continue to do that, more and more people will be interested in these products,” IAC chairman Huy Vatharo said yesterday.

Vatharo expects the country’s life insurance market will see continued growth as both incomes and knowledge of life insurance increase in the Kingdom.

He was confident that there was still room for new players in the local market.

“The Cambodian economy is still growing and the middle class is getting bigger, which means the market is growing for life insurance,” he said. “There is a big opportunity for growth and newcomers will keep trying harder to get a market share by educating the market about their products.”

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