Representative Image

Seeking growth with a strategic partnership

Nov 08, 2019

Naypyitaw (Myanmar) Nov 8: This year saw Myanmar's Ministry of Planning and Finance opening of the local insurance market to foreign. Currently, there are five fully foreign-owned life insurers, three local-foreign joint venture general insurers and three local-foreign joint ventures life insurers, in addition to local insurance companies.
One of the joint ventures is the partnership between Aya Myanmar General Insurance and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc. Myanmar Times speaks with Aya Myanmar Managing Director U Myo Min Thu and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc Chief Representative Mr Keiji Okada about their joint venture's future plans and the prospects in Myanmar insurance market.
U Myo Min Thu: As the Ministry of Planning and Finance has allowed foreign insurers to enter the local market, I hope the insurance industry will develop more rapidly. Of the liberalisation in different sectors in the country, insurance liberalisation is might well be the biggest. I think there will be many challenges in the beginning, but public awareness will improve when companies become more competitive and hold more promotions and marketing campaigns. The greater public awareness, the wider the market and the insurance penetration will also develop.
MT: What do foresee with the liberalisation of the market?
MMT: Things will improve not only for the local insurance market but also for consumers. As insurance companies form joint venture, new insurance types that are compatible with the market and distribution channels that are innovative, such as, bancassurance, will emerge besides current insurance types. The way I see it, more people can be served with new insurance products and the insurance sector will improve in the coming years as the insurance market develops.
MT: Tell us about AYA Myanmar General Insurance's joint venture with Sompo Japan ?
MMT: The goal of the joint venture with Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc, a leading insurance company in Japan, is to improve the lives of people in Myanmar. We have three main areas of focus. First is our employees. We want to give them better training and opportunities to grow. The second point is customers. We want to give people innovative products through various distribution channels and simplify processes for them using technology. The third area is raising insurance penetration in the country. AYA Bank as well as our other partners hope to provide our services in all cities and towns.
MT: What do you hope to gain through the JV?
MMT: With the partnership, we gain access to experience and technology from abroad. With this, customers will get better insurance protection, policies and benefits together with better services. As the country liberalises to make the insurance industry more robust and foreign firms enter the market, we will learn what we didn't know previously. From this the ecosystem as a whole will improve to provide a better safety net to all citizens all over the country.
MT: How did Sompo Japan come to choose AYA as its joint-venture partner?
Keiji Okada: Sompo's core aspiration is to build a strong retail platform across Asia. In order to achieve this ultimate goal, Sompo saw AYA as the best partner in Myanmar because AYA also holds a leading position as a commercial bank. This will be useful Sompo, which has expertise in bancassurance, the selling of life assurance and other insurance products and services by banking institutions. Our previous business tie-ups with AYA since 2014 have proven they are good partners for us.
MT: What kind of value is Sompo going to bring to the joint-venture and to the country?
KJ: Sompo is able to contribute expertise the JV will need to grow in the country, especially expertise in cancassurance based on our ground-level experience through distribution partnership with one of ASEAN's leading universal banking groups. Making use of our digital solutions, Sompo was able to double its premium income in the region over the last five year. We believe this expertise will definitely be a key driving force for the JV in Myanmar.
Source: The Myanmar Times