Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/09/2014 -- Insurance markets in developed countries are mature, with limited scope for growth. Insurers operating in these markets are therefore looking to new regions to expand and diversify. A nascent insurance market is one that is small and newly developing, and those that have been opened for foreign investment offer significant opportunities to foreign insurers.
Myanmar - Asia's final frontier economy
Myanmar, described as the last frontier economy of Asia, began the conversion to a free market economy when its first elected democratic government came to power in March 2011. The new government ended decades of military junta rule and isolation from the rest of the world. As a part of economic liberalization and economic reforms, the new government opened its insurance industry to private insurers in 2012 and is expected to open the market to foreign insurers in 2015. In 2012, the government authorized 12 domestic insurers to establish insurance businesses in the country. These insurers will complete their first year of operation in 2014.
Myanmar has the potential to generate US$1.6 billion of insurance premium every year, as estimated by Reuters and is expected to grow rapidly over the coming years. According to Asia Insurance Review's projections, total insurance premiums generated in the Myanmar insurance industry are expected to reach US$2.8 billion by 2030. Foreign insurance giants are eager to enter Myanmar and have begun preparations to enter the market when it is opened for foreign investment. Early movers will be responsible for developing Myanmar's insurance industry and should benefit from large shares of the billion-dollar market.
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The untapped insurance industry of Cuba
The insurance industry in Cuba was opened for private participation and foreign investment in 1997 under free-market economic reforms initiated by Fidel Castro's then-communist government. However, with the high level of political risk, the Cuban insurance industry is yet to be explored by foreign insurers. Only state-owned bodies such as Esicuba SA, Esen, Asistur SA and Heath Lambert de Cuba SA operate in the country.
The political and economic scenario in Cuba began to change when Raul Castro succeeded Fidel Castro to lead the communist government in 2008. From 2011, Cuba's centrally planned socialist economy began the gradual journey to becoming a free market economy. The government eased out state control in many industries and permitted self-employment in 178 economic activities. Private participation in the economy significantly increased personal wealth and gross national savings, creating increased demand for insurance. Economic reforms are expected to boost GDP growth, which has growing by 2-3% annually since 2010. The gradual economic liberalization is expected to encourage foreign insurers to explore the untapped insurance market in coming years.
Beginning of a new life insurance market in Cambodia
Cambodia ended decades of economic isolation in 2000, when it made the transition to a free market economy. This followed bold economic reforms and economic liberalization, which triggered rapid growth over the next decade. The non-life insurance segment was formally established in the country in 2003 with the entry of private insurers. It grew rapidly during its initial phase of development and generated premiums of US$35.6 million in 2012. The Cambodian insurance industry has substantial potential for growth and is expected to continue to grow over the next decade to become a US$200.0 million industry by 2023. As of May 2014, six non-life insurers operated in the segment.
The life insurance segment in Cambodia formally started in 2012 with the establishment of the state-owned life insurer Cambodian Life Insurance Company followed by foreign life insurers Manulife and Prudential. The untapped market has the potential to generate around US$80-90.0 million within a decade. Cambodia is an attractive investment opportunity for multinational insurers and more are expected to enter the market in the next five year.
- The Myanmar insurance industry was opened to private operators in late 2012. In an effort to establish a private insurance market in the country, in September 2012 the IBSB granted conditional approval to 12 of 20 applicants intending to carry on insurance business in the country. Of these, three intend to provide only life insurance services and nine intend to operate both life and non-life insurance business.
- The government in Myanmar is yet to permit FDI in the insurance industry. Domestic insurers will be given one to two years to establish themselves before the market is opened to foreign insurers. This will enable domestic insurers to compete with foreign insurers once the industry is opened up. The government is expected to permit FDI from 2015 onwards.
Companies Mentioned in this Report: Myanma Insurance, Aung Thitsar Oo Insurance Co. Ltd, Ayeyar Myanmar Insurance Co. Ltd, Aung Myint Moe Min Insurance Co. Ltd, Capital Life Insurance Ltd, Citizen Business Insurance Public Ltd, Excellent Fortune Insurance Company Ltd, First National Insurance Co. Ltd, Global World Insurance Co. Ltd, Grand Guardian Insurance Public Company, IKBZ Insurance Public Co. Ltd, Pillar of Truth Insurance Co. Ltd, Yang Insurance Global Co. Ltd, AIA, MetLife, Prudential, ACE, Sompo Japan Insurance, Tokio Marine and Nichido Fire Insurance, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, United Overseas Insurance, Esicuba SA, Esen, Asistur SA, Heath Lambert de Cuba SA, Cambodian National Insurance Company, Forte Insurance (Cambodia) Plc, Infinity General Insurance Plc, Asia Insurance (Cambodia) Plc, CampuBank Lonpac Insurance Plc, Cambodia Vietnam Insurance Plc, Cambodian Life Insurance Company, Manulife, Prudential
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