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Kingdom increasingly looking for peace of mind from insurance

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Prudential Cambodia CEO David Nutman talks about the evolving local market for insurance products in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Kingdom increasingly looking for peace of mind from insurance

Since launching operations in 2013, Prudential Cambodia has issued 150,000 life insurance policies. Of those, 50,000 were issued in the 12 months before July.

Over the past five years, Prudential Cambodia has paid out claims of over $2.4 million and approved total protection coverage amounting to over $3 billion across its range of products catering to the needs of Cambodian families.

The Post’s Hor Kimsay talked to Prudential Cambodia’s CEO David Nutman about the company’s progress thus far.

What are the major reasons behind the growing number of insurance policies being issued over the last year?

There is a growing awareness among Cambodians about life insurance solutions. People put more trust in the service. We have seen the need for life insurance services changing among our customers. Young Cambodians are better educated, and it means there is a growing demand for more security and support.

In January, we launched a new product called eduCARE – a combination of education and protection. It is necessary to remember that when we first started in the Kingdom, Cambodians were interested in savings products.

We conducted research last year and found that savings products were just as important as protection. Customers want to protect their families and ensure they can pay off their loans, educate their children, and obtain support if the breadwinner is not around.

Products have shifted towards protection. We are adapting our products to meet this changing need. In fact, our products seem to be driving our growth.

The market will keep changing with time. Do you have plans to adjust your product portfolio to fit future market trends?

We have actively conducted research to understand the needs of our customers. We talk to people to find new solutions to meet their changing needs. Health insurance is a market in which we want to find our place. We have seen a few operators enter this market. There are many different ways to enter this market and we are taking our time to consider the right one.

Life insurance has been in the Cambodian market for only six years, but life insurance premiums have jumped compared to general insurance. What are the reasons for this?

There are two main reasons. First, I believe there is growing competition in the life insurance industry and it brings expertise, investments and solutions that are in line with what people need and prefer.

Second, it could be due to claim challenges with general insurance. For example, if my car is damaged. Who damaged it? There is always an argument. For life insurance, a customer is either dead or alive. From a claims perspective, life insurance is getting clearer.

How have you seen the sector change over the last six years?

The most noticeable change is the growing competition. We were the second one to enter the market in 2013.

There are now seven life insurance companies. But the competition is good, as it can improve public awareness. Every operator wants to improve that awareness, so there have been changes in the product range to meet market needs.

How do you foresee the development of the life insurance sector in Cambodia?

It will continue to grow. There are 16 million people who live in the Kingdom. There were seven million people registered to vote in the last election. Roughly speaking, that is the target market. There’s still plenty of room for growth and this group of people will need to protect their family.

So, for me, the sector will continue to grow and modernise. It will go digital and become automated, and the paperwork will be cut down I the foreseeable future.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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