Saturday, November 18, 2017

Foreign insurers to be allowed in Myanmar in 2017

In an attempt to fast-track liberalisation within the insurance sector, the Myanmar government is planning to allow foreign firms to do business domestically and eliminate an array of restrictions on local players next year.

U Thant Zin, an official in the Financial Regulation Department under the Ministry of Finance and Planning, said these efforts are all part of a coordinated move to speed up the liberalisation of the insurance sector which is deemed to be vital for the country’s economic development.

If the changes go through, it will be the second major breakthrough in Myanmar’s efforts to create an efficient insurance market.

In 2012, the previous administration put an end to state-owned Myanma Insurance’s monopoly of the sector, which had lasted for decades.

Subsequently, private firms were allowed to enter the market.

About 20 firms opened representative offices but are still waiting for the green light to do business.

Zin said that Myanma Insurance’s monopoly had been followed by an “oligopoly” of 12 local companies that can only compete on customer service.

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