News Life and Health13 Sep 2019

Myanmar:IKBZ Insurance spins off new life insurance unit

IKBZ Insurance, one of Myanmar's largest privately held general insurers, will be launching a new insurance company IKBZ Life on 16 September in view of current regulations by the Insurance Business Regulatory Board of Myanmar. This restructuring is said to allow for greater specialisation and innovation as the new unit will be fully dedicated to life insurance products.

Seeking to serve the nascent life insurance market in the country, IKBZ Life will centralise resources to develop new and better life products as well as provide its distribution channels with the necessary support to connect with customers nationwide. Its products will encompass group health insurance, long term savings structures and education savings plans.

“By creating a separate legal entity, we not only comply with the governmental requirements but also simplify our offerings in the eyes of potential customers. From now on, clients interested in life insurance will have a dedicated company to support them, whereas customers looking to protect their assets will continue to be served by IKBZ Insurance,” said

IKBZ Insurance vice chairman U Nyo Myint in an official statement.

He said that current life insurance customers of IKBZ will receive a personalised letter with a further information and a detailed explanation of the transition process within the next few days.

IKBZ Insurance also announced that it is on the brink of entering into a joint venture with Japanese insurance giant MSIG. This is subjected to regulatory approvals which are expected to be obtained at the earliest on 4 October after preliminary approval to proceed was obtained on 31 July.

Prospects in a promising insurance market

Myanmar has a total insurance penetration of less than 0.1% of its adult population. However, the country’s insurance sector is expected to grow exponentially over the coming decade, almost quadrupling its economic value.

Just six years ago, state-owned Myanma Insurance’s monopoly on the insurance market ended after 12 new licenses were granted to privately-owned, domestic operators in 2013 including IKBZ Insurance which is the first officially licensed private insurance provider in Myanmar. The insurer currently offers health, property, fire, marine and motor insurance.

Earlier this year, the insurance market was finally opened to foreign competitors. In April, the government announced that it has approved five foreign insurers to operate wholly-owned units for life insurance in the country.

On 2 August, six joint ventures between local and foreign insurers were approved, with three joint ventures each in the life and non-life segments of the market.

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