Thai Insurance to Expand to Cambodia

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BANGKOK, March 17, 2014:  Viriyah Insurance of Thailand has announced plans by the end of this year to expand its cross-border coverage service to vehicles transporting Thai goods to Cambodia, Malaysia, and Myanmar, besides Laos, where the service is already in effect.
Viriyah is seeking partners in Cambodia, Malaysia  and Myanmar to serve Thai policyholders in those countries through the same collaboration model as with the Laotian partner, marketing manager Krit Hincheeranun said.
Deputy managing director Arnon Opaspimoltum said Viriyah reached an agreement recently with a partner in Laos under which the latter will share responsibility to cover compensation claims to Viriyah policyholders if they have a traffic accident in that country.
He said the local-partnership model would help bring in more premiums from commercial trucks and tipped that income from this segment would grow by at least 20 per cent from Bt1.9 billion last year.
In 2013, premiums from motor insurance were Bt30.94 billion, but only a small proportion of that was from commercial transport vehicles, he said.
Krit added that if the cross-border motor-insurance scheme is successful, the company planned to design insurance products to protect not only the vehicles but the goods being transported in those countries. That plan could see fruition in the next few years.
If the company clinches partnerships in Malaysia, Cambodia and Myanmar, it will assign Viriyah offices in main provinces close to those neighbouring countries to coordinate with the partners. It already has assigned its office in Udon Thani to collaborate with the local partner in Laos.
The company considers that the partnership model will build relationships and bring healthy growth rather than the establishment of its own companies or joint ventures in neighbouring countries.
Arnon said the motor-insurance market was likely to see total premium growth of 5 per cent from last year’s value of Bt203 billion. However, as the market leader, Viriyah hopes to surpass that growth rate, though it will be a challenge to match the double-digit growth it witnessed last year.
Viriyah’s total premiums last year grew 21 per cent to Bt33.98 billion. Motor insurance represented Bt30.9 billion, with growth of 21 per cent, while other segments brought in Bt3 billion, with growth of 25 per cent.
The government’s first-car tax-incentive scheme launched in 2012 accelerated motor-insurance premiums, but after that programme ended, premiums resumed normal growth, Arnon said.
The company reported net profit of Bt1.66 billion last year, the same figure as in 2012.
In addition to Viriyah, Aeon Insurance Service (Thailand), the insurance broker of Aeon Thana Sinsap (Thailand) is also studying  doing business in Cambodia as part of its synergy with Aeon Group, which is constructing its first mall in Phnom Penh.
Once completed, the new Aeon mall in Phnom Penh will house outlets of the firm’s financial arms, including insurance, to provide a full range of products and services.
In other insurance sector developments, the Malaysian Insurance Institute (MII) and the Insurance Association of Cambodia (IAC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for “a bilateral collaboration to forge a beneficial business relationship to further enhance insurance knowledge and skills development for the insurance industry in Cambodia,” MII said. 
The MII explained that the MOU formalized its “close relationship and collaboration with IAC. MII and IAC both have the same aspirations and are committed to work together towards developing the human capital of the insurance industry in Cambodia. 
With this commitment, IAC will fully support MII to expand and provide the Institute’s professional qualifications as well as training programs to the Cambodian insurance fraternity.

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