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Etiqa set to insure Cambodians

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‘Annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century‘. THE STAR (MALAYSIA)

Etiqa set to insure Cambodians

The insurance arm of Maybank’s Etiqa Group expects to expand its operations in Cambodia next year as the firm’s executives discuss preparations with Cambodian insurance regulators and await approval.

Etiqa CEO Kamaludin Ahmad was quoted by Malaysian business news outlet, the Malaysian Reserve, as saying Etiqa is looking forward to entering Cambodia as discussions with regulators have been very encouraging.

“We intend to offer both general and life insurance, and want to stay for the long term,” Kamaludin said.

He said Etiqa will need to operate with two companies to provide both types of coverage as required by the regulators.

“[It is] unlike in Singapore and the Philippines, [which] allow for a composite licence where one company can do both. But in Cambodia, [companies] need one for life and the other for general,” Kamaludin said.

Besides Malaysia, Etiqa has operations in Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The Cambodian insurance industry is under the supervision of the Ministry of Economy and Finance under the General Department of Financial Industry. Ministry officials could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

Etiqa’s plans for the Cambodian market will generate stronger competition in the nascent but potentially lucrative market.

Insurance Association of Cambodia (IAC) chairman Huy Vatharo said on Sunday that he received unofficial information about Etiqa’s plans for investment in Cambodia.

Vatharo said the news that more operators want to enter Cambodia’s insurance market is proof that the industry is attractive and has growth potential.

“More players in the market will be good for consumers. It will create good products and services in the insurance industry for the benefit of Cambodians,” Vatharo said.

A recent IAC annual report said the association consists of 11 general insurance firms, seven life insurance firms, and one reinsurance firm.

Life insurance is a relatively new product in Cambodia, first entering the market in 2012. But the industry has grown impressively in terms of gross premiums and the number of operators.

The IAC’s latest data shows that total gross premiums in the insurance industry (general and life) had reached $46.8 million during the first quarter this year – a 30 per cent increase from $36.2 million in the same period last year.

General insurance collected $24.6 million in gross premiums while life insurance received $22.1 million in gross premiums in the first quarter of this year.

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