South Korean-based Dongbu Insurance has become the 16th international insurance firm to open a branch office in Yangon.
International insurance companies are currently not allowed to operate in Myanmar. However, the Myanmar Insurance Business Supervision Committee was established last year with a view to eventually issuing licences to allow foreign companies to operate in special economic zones.
“I hope that Dongbu Insurance Company will collaborate in Myanmar to help develop the domestic insurance market,” said Dr Maung Maung Thein, deputy minister for finance, to reporters after the opening ceremony for the new office, which was held at Sule Shangri-La Hotel in Yangon last week.
“We will allow international insurance companies to operate here if they fulfill the criteria we set. All foreign companies will be given the same opportunity, regardless of when they open a branch office here,” he said.
He added that Japanese insurance companies have already applied for permits, while the other companies are waiting for the criteria to be confirmed.
Lee Jung-Woo, chair of the Korean Association in Myanmar, said it will research the insurance system and culture in general in Myanmar, and aims to serve as a bridge between the Myanmar and Korean insurance industries.
“From this point of view, Dongbu will do its best to help the development of Myanmar’s insurance sector,” he said.
“We know that Myanmar is seeking to expand the competitive force of its financial sector,” said Lee Baek-Soon, South Korean Ambassador to Myanmar. “The development of insurance companies, that reduce the burden and the risks for entrepreneurs, is essential in doing business, along with the development of the economy,” he said.
Dongbu Insurance was established in 1962, as South Korea’s first auto maker. Currently, it is a South Korean- represented insurance company offering services for casualty insurance including motor, fire, marine cargo and health insurance.
It has operations in the US, China and Southeast Asia, as well as South Korea, and is looking to expand its business.
Dongbu chair Kim Jeong-Nam said Myanmar’s insurance market will be one of the more important markets in Southeast Asia. Myanmar has also gradually improved its financial market, and has the possibility for large-scale development.
“We are pleased we can open our representative office in Yangon, as the first South Korean insurer in Myanmar,” he said.
A number of foreign companies have received permission to open Myanmar branch offices, including companies from Japan and the United States.
Source: Myanmar Times