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Strong year for insurance firms

Strong year for insurance firms

THE Kingdom’s leading insurers said premium revenues increased by 24 percent in 2010, with officials saying the concept of insurance is "catching on" in Cambodia.

Figures released from the General Insurance Association of Cambodia show premiums grew by 24 percent to US$24.9 million in 2010, from $20.08 million during the year previously.

“In 2010, the insurance sector stood in a very good position because of economic growth – especially as I saw people beginning to understand the benefits of having insurance,” said GIAC chairman Chhay Rattanak.

The industry was likely to grow by a further 25 percent in 2011, he said.

Fire insurance made up 25 percent of total premium revenues, motor insurance constituted 20 percent, miscellaneous was 17 percent, and 15 percent came from engineering premiums, according to the statistics.

Claims values fell by some 4 percent last year.

The decline was seen after  garment factory fires hit the sector in 2009, according to Chhay Rattanak, one of which cost the sector about $10 million.

Floods rather than fire were responsible for some large claims in 2010.

About 10 garment factories as well as a number of hotels applied for claims relating to water, receiving total payments of about $3 million.

Infinity Insurance chief executive officer David Carter wrote yesterday that the firm’s premium revenue increased 50 percent in 2010, over the year previously, totaling $6 million, on the back of revenues generated from the construction, property, and health-care sectors.

Infinity – which claims some 25 percent domestic market share – has seen revenue growth increasing along with the domestic economy, he said.

“We predict the market will grow by another 10 to 15 percent, and we expect to maintain our market share,” he said.

Cambodia Vietnam Insurance saw premiums total $945,000 last year, after launching in Cambodia in early in 2010. CVI chief executive Cao Minh Son said the revenue was largely from aviation, engineering, health care, motor and property, adding that the sector was trending positively.

The firm – which insures Cambodia Angkor Air and Sokha Helicopters – intends to focus on the aviation sector for its growth.

“We want to be the best in this sector. We estimate aviation premiums could total $760,000 for this year." But Chhay Rattank said a growing number of traffic accidents continued to be a concern for the industry.
“Even though we have traffic laws, people don’t respect them," he said.

"The insurance industry hopes the Ministry of Interior will strengthen traffic laws and slow down accident rates." 

Cambodia has six insurance companies and one reinsurance company.

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