Formal insurance licences granted to foreign insurers in Myanmar

| 03 Dec 2019

Five foreign insurers and half a dozen joint ventures were granted licences by the Financial Regulatory Department on 28 November 2019 to operate in the Myanmar market.

UK's Prudential, Japan's Dai-ichi Life, Hong Kong's AIA, US's Chubb and Canada's Manulife have been permitted to issue life insurance policies in Myanmar with their fully-owned subsidiaries, more than half a year after the five insurers were granted provisional licences, reported The Myanmar Times.

The approval marked Myanmar’s first licences to foreign fully-owned life insurers.

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Joint ventures

The Department also granted licences to three life and three non-life joint ventures between foreign and local firms.

The three non-life JVs are between AYA Myanmar General Insurance and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance; Grand Guardian General Insurance and Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance; and IKBZ Insurance and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance.

The three life JVs are between Capital Life Insurance and Taiyo Life Insurance; Citizen Business Insurance and Thai Life Insurance; and Grand Guardian Life Insurance and Nippon Life Insurance.

The issue of the licences to foreign investors is a flagship reform of the government. The insurance market in Myanmar had been monopolised for years by a state firm Myanma Insurance, but was opened up to local private operators in 2013, with 11 Myanmar licensed firms currently operating.

Local insurer IKBZ Insurance released a report in July showing that less than 4% of the population have any sort of insurance coverage. The report also indicated that the industry has the potential to grow into a MMK4tn ($2.7bn) market in 10 years.

In 2014, we made a bold prediction on Myanmar's insurance market. How did we fare? 

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