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Insurance premiums swell on new business growth

Insurance premiums swell on new business growth

The growth of new enterprises across many different sectors in Cambodia is driving the rapid growth of insurance premiums and policy holders, the head of the Kingdom’s insurance industry body said yesterday.

“The insurance consumer base in Cambodia is still small,” said Huy Vatharo, chairman of the Insurance Association of Cambodia (IAC). “The growth of insurance business in this market has so far come from the increase of new businesses across the lines, meaning more new customers have access to insurance.”

Non-life insurance premiums grew 20.2 per cent over the past year with total premiums topping $46 million, according to the IAC’s annual third-quarter report.

The fastest growth was reported in marine, aviation and transport (MAT) insurance, which surged 57.7 per cent in the third quarter of 2015 compared to the same period last year.

Property and fire insurance saw a 44.1 per cent year-on-year gain in the third quarter, while medical insurance rose 38.9 per cent in the same period.

Vatharo said that while the report showed MAT insurance leading the pack in terms of premiums, the growth figure was distorted by recent administrative changes.

“The figure for MAT business growth is much higher than that of other types of insurance because of the reclassification of insurance products,” Vatharo said. “So, at this moment we can’t say this insurance had more growth than other lines.”

Previously, aviation insurance was included in “miscellaneous insurance”, but this year the IAC combined marine, aviation and transport into a single line of insurance to conform to regional classification in the insurance sector, he explained.

The IAC report did not include growth figures for life insurance, which has seen some of the strongest gains in premiums and policyholders, noted Kieran Cooney, general manager of BIMA, a mobile-delivered insurance provider.

“The report doesn’t relate to any of our micro-insurance products, but I expect this is due to the lack of insurance awareness among the general population,” he said.

Vatharo said BIMA’s figures were not included in the IAC’s report because it is not a member of the association. Moreover, life insurance was excluded from the report’s premium total because it is a new product and a relatively small contributor to overall insurance premiums.

“Given the fact that life insurance is still at an early stage, we have decided not to publish [its premium figures] at the moment to avoid any misunderstanding or misinterpretation about its market confidence,” he said.

“The life insurance market has actually been increasing significantly,” he added.

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