Myanmar Readies Reforms to Liberalize Insurance Market

NAYPYITAW — Myanmar intends to release within three months a blueprint for insurance market reforms that include allowing foreign insurers to underwrite and sell policies, the head of state-run Myanma Insurance said here Wednesday.

Managing Director Sandar Oo outlined the reforms from the Ministry of Planning and Finance, which oversees Myanma Insurance, in a presentation at Myanmar Investment Forum 2017. The event held Tuesday and Wednesday in this capital city was attended by investors from countries such as China, India and Japan.

The government aims to “achieve in the near future a well-structured, competitive insurance market,” she said. “The comprehensive insurance liberalization plan has already been finalized, with the assistance of the World Bank group, and also it has been approved by our cabinet.”

Foreign insurance underwriters, brokers and agents will be able to obtain licenses, according to the presentation materials.

Naypyitaw let local private-sector companies enter the insurance market in 2013, ending Myanma Insurance’s monopoly. Licenses have been issued to 11 businesses so far. In addition, 24 foreign companies have opened offices in the Southeast Asian country in anticipation of further liberalization. Three Japanese insurers, including Sompo Holdings subsidiary Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance, are already selling products such as fire and auto insurance in Myanmar, but only inside the Thilawa special economic zone near Yangon.

Sandar Oo acknowledged the “many challenges ahead,” such as a “lack of technical and operational expertise” in the private sector. The government also must strengthen its regulatory and supervisory framework for the industry, she said.

 

Source: Nikkei Asian Review

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