Foreign insurance companies can start operating in Thilawa Special Economic Zone during its first phase beginning in January 2015, Deputy Finance Minister Dr Maung Maung Thein told reporters at the Yangon-based state-owned Myanma Insurance office on November 16.
“According to an existing Special Economic Zone law, foreign insurance companies can run their business [within special economic zones] without requiring approval from the Myanmar Investment Commission,” Dr Maung Maung Thein said.
However, foreign companies that aim to operate within the special economic zones need to submit the required documents to the Insurance Business Regulatory Board or IBRB under the Ministry of Finance, he said.
Local and foreign insurance companies have the opportunity to operate in special economic zones includes those of Kyaukphyu and Dawei. Foreign companies are not allowed to run an insurance business outside of the special economic zones.
“IBRB will evaluate whether prospective insurance companies meet with the fixed criteria or not. If companies can meet with those criteria, IBRB will issue an official certificate to those companies to start operating,” said Dr Maung Maung Thein, who is also the chairman of the IBRB.
“Currently, not a single foreign company has submitted an application [to the IBRB]. So, I cannot comment how many foreign companies will be selected,” he said.
“Fire insurance is a product particularly apt for the zone,” Dr Maung Maung Thein told Mizzima.
The IBRB is still considering whether to charge the foreign companies deposits or not for setting up in the zone.
“IBRB would prefer not to collect deposits from foreign companies. So, selected foreign companies must show strong evidence in terms of ratings and capital,” Dr Maung Maung Thein said.
Currently, 12 domestic private insurance companies have been running in the country since the government opened up the field in June 2013.