Cambodia’s leading insurance company grew from a 33 per cent market share in 2010 to a 38 per cent share in 2013, according to Youk Chamroeunrith, director and general manager of Forte Insurance.
The expansion is part of a growth trend for the whole insurance industry in Cambodia.
“Overall our peers in the insurance industry have grown at about the same rate of 25 per cent because of the growth of investment in Cambodia and also because Cambodians are starting to understand the benefits of insurance for their lives and their businesses,” he said.
He said that for insuring properties, both existing and under construction, Forte team members would conduct a risk survey at the location and make a recommendation to clients.
“We reduce the probability of loss which benefits both the client and us,” he said.
In the case of construction projects, policies for owner-control and contractor-control are both possibilities.
“We have a broad spectrum of coverage from buildings to power plants to dams,” he said, “but existing facilities are the biggest part of the business.”
For building owners who wish to have fire insurance, Forte insists on the presence of fire extinguishers, hose reels, hydrants and sprinkler systems.
According to Forte’s Associate Director Terrence Anderson, the policies cover not only physical damage but also business interruption loss.
“We make recommen-dations on how to approve the risk,” Anderson said. “The higher degree of risk prevention we’re looking at covers not just on physical damage but also business interruption damage.”
After property, Forte’s second-largest industry segment is vehicle insurance.
Youk Chamroeunrith said road accidents have been increasing as more and more people are buying their own cars.
“People are starting to understand the importance of automobile insurance,” he said. “Most of our automobile insurance customers come direct to us, but also through the dealer and through the banks. We support the banks on financing automobile loans. The banks give the loan and they transfer the risk to the insurance company,” he said.
Forte provides a hot line number in case a policy holder has an accident.
“You can call us 24 hours a day and we can assist you in remote areas and talk to the police about how to settle their case. If the accident is within the city, our people will be there on the scene as soon as possible,” he said.
Anderson said Cambodia’s insurance industry, compared to other countries, was still in a development phase and people were starting to learn more about it.
“Insurance as part of Cambodia’s GDP almost non-existent,” he said. “We’re seeing a gradual transition toward increased understanding of insurance and an increase in disposable income,” he said. “Our consumer lines including auto insurance, travel insurance and homeowners insurance are all growing in tandem with the economy. A big part of that is people have more disposable income,” Anderson said.
Forte has rolled out a new $3,500 per year full coverage medical insurance policy called Medi Plus which Anderson said is the first such policy in Cambodia. The policy covers people anywhere in the world and has a high limited of $2.5 million.
“We feel that health insurance is very important to everybody. If you are sick and admitted to hospital, worldwide, there’s no need to pay the medical bill. Our network people will pay directly,” Youk Chamroeunrith said.
Anderson said the policy represents the first in Cambodia that covers both Khmers and Expats.
“We underrate based on age and if you have a credit or debit card you’ll be able to pay monthly,” he said.
Forte also offers a micro insurance product for low income people that includes basic medical cover for $7 per year.
“We’re covering all segments of society, not just high income people. From rural people to factory workers and all the way up,” he said.
Forte also has travel insurance available for purchase with a credit card on their website at www.forteinsurance.com.
“You can purchase this online,” Anderson said. “It costs about $2 a day and covers medical, accidents and lost baggage. The minute you click to purchase the travel insurance, you get a notification that you have purchased a policy, and we give them a hot line to call if they have a problem.”
Anderson said 90 per cent of travel insurance claims were medical and accident related.
“That’s really the biggest reason to by travel insurance,” he said. “Many countries mandate that tour operators provide travel insurance,” he said.