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Insurance claims through the roof

A truck carrying garment workers collided with another vehicle on National Road 3 in Phnom Penh in February, killing a driver and injuring dozens.
A truck carrying garment workers collided with another vehicle on National Road 3 in Phnom Penh in February. One driver was killed and dozens were injured. Pha Lina

Insurance claims through the roof

Partly triggered by recent flood damage and an increase in road accidents, claims filed with the six general insurance companies in Cambodia spiked more than 160 per cent in the nine months through to September compared with the same time last year, the latest data show.

Total claims reached $8.5 million, a 167 per cent year-on-year increase, according to the Insurance Association of Cambodia, which released the figures on Tuesday. The sector that generated the most claims by value, or $3.2 million, was engineering, which includes property, irrigation systems and road construction.

In the number two slot was the “motor” sector, encompassing car and motorbike accidents. There, claims amounted to $1.95 million, a 187.7 per cent year-on-year increase. Medical filings represented the third largest chunk, growing 13.7 per cent to $1.87 million in the first nine months.

Of the total, leading general insurance provider Forte paid out more than $2 million as of October.

“Claims increase during flooding season, both caused by the Mekong river and the rain,” Youk Chamroeunrith, general manager of Forte Insurance, said yesterday.

With clients in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, the second-largest general provider, Infinity, also shouldered a big part.

According to David Carter, CEO of Infinity Insurance, medical and motor claims have increased for Infinity “as medical costs increase and the number of insured cars on the roads rises”.

He added that the claims were still under budgeted projections.

Handicap International’s road safety program manager, Ear Chariya, said yesterday that only a small percentage of people have insurance in Cambodia and that insurance companies should raise more awareness about responsible driving.

According to the most recent traffic police statistics, between November 2012 and August 2013, Cambodia counted 3,306 car and motorbike accidents, 1,519 accident-related deaths and 3,358 damaged vehicles.

Only commercial vehicles like buses are legally required to buy motor insurance, but private car owners could soon be made to buy plans if new legislation is approved. The Ministry of Economy and Finance, which oversees the insurance industry, in May proposed that private car owners be forced to take out third-party liability insurance, which covers damage caused in accidents for which insured drivers are held responsible. The legislation is still pending, said Chhay Rattanak, chairman of the Insurance Association of Cambodia.

Premiums in Cambodia’s insurance sector in the first nine months reached $31.38 million, a 20 per cent year-on-year increase, according to the association.

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