One of Cambodia’s property-focused insurance companies is preparing to offer a series of products called Smart Insurance Solutions, designed to get offices and retail shops insured for the first time.
“It's the first product of its kind in Cambodia,” says Agnes Chan, general manager of Campu Lonpac Insurance.
“We took an insurance product from Malaysia and Singapore, and we modified it to suit Cambodia. We are targeting small-business owners who are first-time insurance buyers."
Called Smart Insurance Solutions for office and retail, it has a basic starting price of $55 a year for office, $60 for retail and $65 for restaurants.
Chan says these figures include fire and staff insurance for two employees.
“We can insure retail shops of all kinds, including mini-marts, pharmacies, shoe shops, bag shops and clothing shops, including small-time sellers, but they must be housed in building, not in a market,” Chan says.
Restaurants are categorised under the Food and Beverage Insurance Package, which is specific to restaurants, not bars.
“Both office and retail products include a package of insurance for fire, staff, burglary, public liability, money kept on premises and money in transit. We will also provide free personal accident cover for one proprietor of the company,” Chan says.
The Food and Beverage Insurance Package includes insurance against liability of the restaurant owners on food poisoning, Chan says.
“A lot of first-time customers aren't sure what insurance is, and they aren't sure what they will be able to get from insurance, so this particular product is being simplified to suit this type of consumer, small-business owner and first- time buyer."
Chan, an ethnic Chinese from the Ipoh region of Malaysia, has been in Cambodia since 2005 and was present for the start-up of what had been called CampuBank Lonpac Insurance since it opened in 2007, but is now changing its name to Campu Lonpac Insurance (just dropping the word "bank").
Chan says a great effort has been made to explain insurance coverage to Cambodians who are taking out policies for the first time in their lives.
“Everything is stated up front in the most simple language. We have a summary of the product in layman's terms, and this is translated into Khmer.”
Chan says that for Cambodians, purchasing the office and retail packages is a very simple process.
“Everything is laid out, pre-packaged. All you have to do is sit down and give me the actual value of the contents or stock of your business, and you will immediately see what the cost is. There are no hidden terms or conditions.”
Chan says a fact sheet, rather than legal language, is what sells the policy.
“For this, we translate it into Khmer and we prepare another lengthy fact sheet to explain the product features, instead of you having to read the policy. The special part is the layman’s terms fact sheet.”
Another thing Chan’s team does when selling a policy is explain the procedures of inviting contractors to determine the compensation to restore a home or business to its original state, for example, after a fire.
“We explain how to determine what is repairable and what is replaceable. We explain the procedures of inviting the contractors, and how that determines the ultimate compensation amount," she says.
"This is to give our consumers confidence, because whatever amount we offer is an amount sufficient to revert back to your business and we won’t give you a ridiculously low amount.
"We make sure there is a contractor available that will restore the whole thing back to its original state.”
Having made the claim procedure very clear, Chan emphasises that most claims less than $250,000 in value are paid by cheque in less than 14 days, and if greater than $250,000, in 21 days.
“We are very proud of that, and we have settled claims of $10 to $20 million in less than 21 days,” she says.
Another product to be rolled out next year is Smart Home Insurance, which will cover fire and burglary as well as public liability.
“We are currently insuring a lot of home owners in Cambodia already,” says Chan, who believes one of the most important things for an insurer is to keep your word.
“There must be sincerity, and it must be very genuine, because naturally people can feel it. You must be there for them whatever the situation, because they are paying you for peace of mind. They must be able to feel that, if anything does happen you are a reliable, dependable person.”
Chan says she treats her company like a family. “Most of them want to feel a sense of belonging. Everyone sees the same objective, the same vision of the company; that’s why we've been moving in our targeted direction."
Campu Lonpac also writes policies for motorcycles, health and automobiles, but mostly for corporate customers. “Our emphasis is engineering, property, marine. We insure both small and large premium policies," Chan says.
Despite being the fourth-largest insurance company in Cambodia in terms of gross premiums charged, Chan says Campu Lonpac is quite happy to have more than 30 per cent of the property market share.
“Our focus is to grow in property and marine insurance. We also handle Import-export, insuring shipments of garments, construction materials and vehicles,” she says.
As far as re-insurance goes, Campu Lonpac has a separate re-insurance treaty.
“Some of the risk we will retain here, and all of our re-insurers are A-rated multinationals. Our head office is also A-rated, and the rest will re-insure to re-insurers’ representative offices in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia,” Chan says.
The secret to the success of Campu Lonpac, which now has 32 employees, is the transparency of its claims procedure, Chan says.
“We pride ourselves on making our customers feel comfortable,” she says.
Chan says Campu Lonpac’s staff always begin their presentation with “how we are going to pay you, and how we calculate claims. We tell you how you can make a claim and in what scenario, and how we calculate the compensation amount.
“A lot of consumers aren't sure how much they can get.”
Campu Lonpac Insurance is 51 per cent owned by the Cambodian Public Bank, four per cent owned by Public Bank of Malaysia and 45 per cent owned by LPI Capital, which is the holding company of Lonpac Insurance.
LPI is 10 per cent owned by Nipponkoa Insurance, which is a subsidiary of NKSJ Holdings, a merger between Nipponkoa Insurance and Sompo Japan.
“Now we are related to both Sompo Japan and Nipponkoa through their merger,” Chan says.
Partly due to the Japanese ownership connection, Campu Lonpac gets a lot of business from Japanese companies operating in Cambodia.
“For example, we insure almost 90 per cent of the Japanese market here,” Chan says.
“We work closely with a lot of Japanese investors that are multinational companies, because Japanese investors prefer to insure with the same insurance company through-out the world.
“We also insure most of the Japanese factories in various special economic zones who make garments, MSG, comic books, vehicles and a Japanese freight forwarder."
Part of the reason for Campu Lonpac’s strong Japanese connection is the number of Japanese investors in Malaysia, including part-owner Nippon Koa, which has a Malaysia division to handle all its Japanese customers.
“We have a very good reputation in Cambodia, because of the reputation of our Cambodian Public Bank, which has been around for many years,” Chan says.
One of the points Campu Lonpac is proud of, according to Chan, is the A rating of Lonpac Insurance.
“Large multinationals and foreign-owned companies here are very particular about the ratings of insurance companies,” she says.