Six to eight foreign insurance joint ventures are expected to be formed in Myanmar this fiscal year, U Thaung Han, secretary of the Myanmar Insurance Association (MIA) and chairman of CB Insurance, has said.
In fact, four local private insurance firms, including CB Insurance, have already formed joint ventures with foreign firms, U Thaung Han told Myanmar Times.
His comments followed the 2 January announcement by the Ministry of Planning and Finance (MOPF) that the government will open the door to foreign insurance ventures.
Life insurance providers will be given two options to operate. The first option allows not more than three licenses for foreign life insurers to operate as 100% owned subsidiaries.
The second allows foreign life insurers with a representative office in Myanmar to form a joint venture with a local life insurer. Non-life insurance providers with representative offices in Myanmar will be allowed to form a joint venture with local non-life insurers.
“We expect to see a minimum of six and a maximum of eight joint venture insurance firms in the domestic insurance market,” said U Thaung Han.
U Zaw Naing, director general of the Financial Regulatory Department, said that the new joint ventures are expected to be launched within the current fiscal year which ends on 30 September.
The MOPF will invite interested local and foreign insurers to submit Expressions of Interest (EOI) and/or Requests for Proposals (RFP) to operate insurance businesses in Myanmar. The process will be facilitated by the Financial Regulatory Department.
“Information on the EOI and RFP process will be out soon. The ownership ratio of the joint ventures between the local insurance and foreign insurance firms will also come out soon,” U Zaw Naing said.
The government in 2013 allowed 11 local private insurance companies to operate domestically. However, foreign insurance providers were restricted to opening representative offices except for three Japanese companies which have special permission to operate non-life insurance business in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone.
Currently, there are 32 representative offices of foreign insurers in Myanmar including from Singapore, Japan, Thailand, US, Hong Kong, France, UK, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, India, Germany, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Cambodia, according to the MOPF.