Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Insurance sector bucks worldwide downturn

Insurance sector bucks worldwide downturn

Insurance sector bucks worldwide downturn

040209_13.jpg
040209_13.jpg

Revenues for the industry grew 18 percent for 2008

Photo by:

Heng Chivoan

The Infinity Insurance head office in Phnom Penh. The industry expects strong growth despite the economic crisis.

Cambodia's fledgling insurance industry grew 18 percent last year, despite global declines in the sector, said a finance official on Monday.

"Premium insurance revenues increased to US$20.5 million in 2008 from $17.5 million in 2007 - up 18 percent," said In Meatra, head of the Financial Industry Department's Insurance Division at the Ministry of Finance.

In Meatra said that Cambodians have begun to understand the advantages of buying insurance, especially for personal accidents and automobiles.

"Despite the crisis, we expect the insurance industry will at least stabilise or increase in growth this year, but we cannot say by how much," he said. Cambodia has five insurance companies: Forte Insurance, Caminco, Asia Insurance, Campubank  Lonpac and Infinity Insurance, said the ministry. Two new companies are expected to enter the market this year - one local company and another from Malaysia.

David W Carter, chief executive officer of Infinity Insurance, said he expects the insurance sector to grow this year, despite the crisis. "We anticipate the insurance market to outpace Cambodia's GDP growth over the next year. So, if GDP grows by five percent, we expect the insurance market premiums will increase by 10 percent minimum," said Carter.

"This is mainly due to rising demand, as more awareness towards the advantages of buying insurance grows." He said that the discovery of oil and gas off the coast could dramatically boost the sector.

He estimates that between one and two percent of Cambodia's estimated 14 million  population can afford the insurance.

Youk Chamroeunrith, director of Forte Insurance, Cambodia's largest insurer by market share, said Monday that the industry is growing but that more marketing is needed.

"Generally, in less developed countries the proportion of people buying insurance is very low compared to the developed world," he said.

"Cambodians are not interested in buying insurance, and they have less knowledge about the importance of buying insurance."

He said that most insurance buyers are foreign investors, adding that Forte's premium income was $8.8 million, for a 50.31 percent market share in 2007. Revenues were up about 15 percent in 2008, he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Cambodia nabs 12th place in best retirement destinations

    Cambodia is an expatriate hotspot for those dreaming of living a more luxurious lifestyle at an affordable cost, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Cambodia took the top spot in the Cost of Living category.

  • EU starts EBA withdrawal

    The EU on Monday announced that it has begun the 18-month process of withdrawing the Kingdom’s access to its preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement over “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights”. However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said

  • PM: War result of foreign meddling

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that Cambodia’s recent history of conflict was caused by foreign interference. “The wars that happened were caused by provocation, incitement, support, smearing and interference from foreign powers, and the group of ignorant people who pushed Cambodia to