Leading Cambodian insurer’s acquisition of top company aims to increase Lao PDR’s low insurance penetration rates
Insurance (Cambodia) Plc, the Kingdom’s leading insurer today took their first step towards expanding their regional footprint by acquiring Tokojaya Lao Assurance Co. Ltd (Toko Assurance), one of Lao PDR’s top insurance companies.
The acquisition ceremony was held on March 9, 2018 at Lao PDR’s capital of Vientiane with two companies’ head, Forte CEO Charles Cheo and Toko Assurance founder Mr. Kong Hock Sian.
“We are proud and honored to invest in Toko Assurance, a well-respected insurer in Lao PDR that has played a key role in enhancing the country’s insurance industry,” said Cheo. “The aim of this investment is simple: Forte Insurance looks to boost Lao PDR’s insurance industry and increase penetration rates, similar to what we’ve achieved here in Cambodia.”
He said Forte had selected Lao PDR as their first venture into the regional arena as both countries shared similar cultures and were at the same developmental stage.
“The insurance industry in both countries, likewise, is at the same stage where there are both challenges and opportunities,” said Cheo. “We are confident, however, that we will be able to replicate some of our successes here in Lao PDR, as well as create more awareness and increase the uptake of insurance in the country.”
In 2017, Forte Insurance maintained their position as the Kingdom’s leading insurer for the 15th consecutive year. The award-winning insurer, incorporated here in 1998, currently holds a commanding 46% of the market share, thanks to its relevant, innovative and value-added personal and corporate offerings.
“Our expansion into emerging markets as Lao PDR is among Forte’s long-term strategies to establish and solidify our regional footprint,” said Cheo, adding that the insurer had undertaken numerous initiatives including the development of new products and regional market feasibility studies to achieve their goal.
Mr. Kong Hock Sian, Toko Assurance’s president, chairman and managing director, said the acquisition would enhance the insurer’s reputation as one with a superior range of value-added business and personal products, regional and international connections and a pool of experts with a commitment to quality.
“The acquisition will see Forte Insurance and Toko Assurance combining our legacy and vision as well as our experiences, commitment and strategies to bring this company to new heights of excellence,” he said. “We are positive that the new Toko Assurance will continue to meet the evolving needs of our customers and position us as among the key players in the regional insurance scene.”
Joining the event, Mrs. Hor Sovathana, Deputy Director of Insurance and Pension department of Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance, congratulated Forte Insurance for its achievement in venturing into Laos. “It is the first general Insurance company incorporated in Cambodia to expand their operations into our neighboring countries. Forte’s success does not come easy. They started as an agent of a national insurance company in 1998 with a workforce of only five people. Today they have almost 200 people under their payroll. Since 2003 when they recievd a full insurance lincense, Forte has become Cambodia’s largest general insurance company commanding the largest share of the market” she said.
The Deputy Director General of the Department of State-Owned Enterprise Development and Insurance, Ministry of Finance of Laos, Dr. Sonephet Inthavong, summed up his speech with congratulations and a welcome for Forte’s foray into the country. “ With more insurers, a new and exciting wave of growth and development for the industry lies ahead of us, but it can only happen if we are prepared omce again to embrace the change, and collectively rise to overcome the barriers that threaten to hold the industry back from achieving its full potential” he added.
Toko Assurance commenced business in May 2007 under a license conferred by Lao PDR’s Committee for Planning and Investment (CPI). The insurer, which focuses on Motor, Home, Group Health, Personal Accident and Hydropower Dam coverage, currently boasts agency networks in all 17 provinces of the country.
For more information on Forte Insurance, visit www.forteinsurance.com.