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Thailand: Bright spots exist in crop, travel and health insurance

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Feb 2017

Several niches exist in the Thai non-life insurance industry which promise growth for insurers, indicates Mr Jiraphant Asvatanakul, President and CEO of Thaivivat Insurance.
   One area is the rice crop insurance scheme worth around THB2.6 billion (US$73 million) in premiums each year, for which the government is responsible for premium payment, reported The Nation citing Mr Jiraphant.
   He said that to make the scheme more convenient, insurers have discussed with the Office of Insurance Commission [OIC] and the Finance Ministry the provision of coverage for farmers’ annual rice crops using the government-sponsored PromptPay electronic-payment platform which is to be launched this quarter.
   “Overall, it’s a win-win for both customers and insurers as electronic money transfers are more cost effective in the long run, since the crop insurance scheme will cover around 26 million rai [4.16 million hectares] of farmland involving millions of farmers,” he said.
   The tourism sector is another promising business because foreign visitors to Thailand number more than 30 million a year. Mr Jiraphant said that the tourism authorities have approached the OIC about providing accident or death coverage for foreign visitors, including in the event of terror attacks. 
Health insurance
In addition, non-life insurers have been discussing for sometime now with the Finance Ministry a plan for civil servants and their immediate family members to be covered by medical insurance, said Mr Jiraphant. At present, medical expenses for them are paid for by the government.
   “We’re working on details of the non-life insurance association’s proposal for consideration by the Finance Ministry, which wants to manage the growing healthcare expenditure. They want the private insurance sector to help manage the risk.”
   The annual state budget for the healthcare expenses of civil servants is over THB70 billion.
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