INSURANCE | Staff Reporter, Japan

Japanese firms foray into Myanmar's highly uninsured market

Tokio Marine Holdings and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance are amongst the firms seeking entry into Myanmar.

Five Japanese insurers partnered with local players in Myanmar shortly after the government allowed foreign insurance firms to offer products in the highly uninsured country on their own or through joint ventures, reports Nikkei Asian Review.

Amongst them is Tokio Marine Holdings, which intends to take a 35% stake which translates to aroundt $44.7m (JPY5b), the maximum allowed, in Myanmar’s Grand Guardian Insurance's casualty arm. Nippon Life Insurance will also invest about $18m (JPY2b) in a life insurance joint venture with Grand Guardian's life insurance arm.

Other firms seeking to crack the Myanmar market are forming joint ventures, including Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance and local company IKBZ Insurance, Sompo Holdings and AYA Myanmar Insurance, and Taiyo Life Insurance with Capital Life Insurance. Meanwhile, Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance will gain a foothold indirectly through its 15% stake in Thai Life Insurance, which will form a joint venture with Citizen Business Insurance.

The Ministry of Planning and Finance has already announced the list of foreign insurers which have been granted provisional licenses to operate through wholly owned subsidiaries, including Japan's Dai-ichi Life Insurance, Hong Kong's AIA Group, and UK’s Prudential, amongst others.

Myanmar's population is about 50 million, but its insurance market’s premium revenue only makes up 0.1% of gross domestic product, with accident insurance for snakebites as one of the most popular.

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