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Insurance experts convene to discuss bancassurance

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
Workshop organisers and participants pose for a group picture. Supplied

Representatives of insurance companies, banks, microfinance organisations and government agencies gathered yesterday in Phnom Penh to participate in the nation’s first workshop on bancassurance.

The event focused on regulation of the bancassurance sector, a term used to refer to the selling of life assurance and other insurance products and services by banking institutions.

Huy Vatharo, chairman of the Insurance Association of Cambodia, said at the workshop that bancassurance makes financial services more accessible to the public.

“Delivering insurance services and products through banks and MFIs makes it easier for customers to learn about insurance and take out a policy,” Mr Vatharo said.

He said bancassurance increases customers’ trust in insurance products, and is in line with the government’s strategy to develop the nation’s financial sector.

Nget Sovannarith, deputy director of the General Directorate of Banking Supervision at the National Bank of Cambodia, said partnerships between banking institutions and insurance companies have increased markedly in the last few years, but stressed that more needs to be done to regulate these partnerships as well as the bancassurance sector as a whole.

“We have to set up mechanisms and regulation to effectively manage the sector, which demands the participation of insurance operators and the relevant authorities,” he said.

Bou Chanphirou, deputy director at the General Department of Finance and Industry, said that, unlike more developed economies, in Cambodia banks and MFIs involved in bancassurance are not yet acting as full intermediaries.

“In Cambodia, bancassurance is just getting started, and commercial banks and MFIs are just used for reference. They are not really acting as insurance intermediaries yet,” Mr Chanphirou explained.

According to Mr Chanphirou, there are now 61 insurance companies in Cambodia: 12 general insurance companies, seven life insurers, eight companies focusing on micro insurance, 33 intermediary companies, and one reinsurance firm.

He said gross premiums reached $152 million last year, compared with $113.5 million the year before. Total assets in the insurance sector equalled $296.7 million in 2017, he added.

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