Cambodia's insurance industry recorded slower premium growth in 2023, reaching $342 million, a 3% year-on-year increase from $331.8 million, primarily due to a downturn in the global and regional economy.

According to a report released last week by the Insurance Regulator of Cambodia (IRC), by the end of 2023 the country had 41 insurance companies, comprising 18 general and 15 life insurers, seven micro-insurance companies and one reinsurance firm. The industry currently has total assets of nearly $1 billion.

Total claims paid by insurance firms amounted to $60.8 million last year, an increase of 30% from $46.6 million in 2022.

IRC director-general Bou Chanphiru stated that due to the political stability and economic growth maintained over the last two decades, the Cambodian insurance sector has grown remarkably and has been playing a vital role in supporting social security and the national economy.

However, he noted that looking at key indicators such as the insurance contribution rate in the economy and the insurance density in the country, contributions accounted for only 1.14% in 2023 and the density was averaged at $20.72 per person.

“The indicator shows that the … insurance market still has significant potential for future development, but the industry also faces several challenges such as lack of insurance skills and public awareness,” he said.

Youk Chamroeunrith, group CEO of Forte Group, acknowledged that the sector experienced very slow growth last year due to the regional and global economic slowdown affecting domestic businesses.

“I see that general insurance continues to grow but very slightly. However, life insurance experienced a dip last year. Thus, the low growth of the industry was supported by the growth from general insurance,” he explained.

“For Forte General, we saw an increase of around 5%. However, Forte Life experienced a slight decrease, attributable to the minimal rise in bank loans, as we also work with banks to offer insurance services to borrowers,” he added.

According to the IRC's report, the insurance sector's gross written premiums (GWP) for 2022 amounted to $331.8 million, up by 10.68% from $299.835 million in 2021. For life, general and micro insurance premiums, the figures were $193.81 million, $132.34 million and $5.716 million respectively, up 12.60%, 7.09% and 38.36% over 2021.

Total gross claim payments were to the tune of $46.6 million in 2022, up 2.16% year-on-year, with general insurance accounting for the most with $31.48 million, up 5.97%, followed by life ($14.2 million, down 6.73%) and micro ($912,401, up 35.57%).

Total assets in the sector stood at $976.99 million in 2022, up 14.85% year-on-year, with life insurance representing the lion's share at $662.76 million, up 20.12%, followed by general ($308.98 million, up 5.23%) and micro ($5.247 million, down 0.08%).