Few have insurance but interest is rising

Few business people in Myanmar buy insurance policies to cover their lives, let alone goods and vehicles, said Dr Sandar Oo, managing director of Myanmar Insurance Enterprise (MIE), which is under the Ministry of Planning and Finance.

“There are policies under the (MIE) which cover all the losses suffered,” she added. Moreover, the MIE is backed by State-owned finance, so businesses can easily receive damages for their losses. “When people have insurance to cover their assets, they can enjoy peace of mind.”

Yet, just 80 out of 1,000 people in Myanmar own insurance po cies currently, while income from insurance enterprises amounts to just 0.07 percent of State’s income, she said.

Poor understanding

One reason for the low take-up rate is a poor understanding of insurance. In fact, the MIE is now drawing up a plan to raise compensation and the speed at which the money is paid out after an incident occurs. It also plans to conduct education programs across the country to raise understanding and awareness for insurance, Dr Sandar Oo said.

However, many also find insurance policies too pricy for their budgets. A 30-year-old woman in Mandalay told The Myanmar Times she had been contemplating buying a policy to cover her car, but has not been able to decide on a company or policy yet. “I have not chosen yet as there are also many private insurance enterprises here,” she said.

“But there is also a large amount of money involved in purchasing insurance policies. It is convenient for businesses but not easy for us employees with normal incomes,” she added.

The way Dr Sandar Oo sees it, buying insurance from the government can be viewed as a State donation of sorts. “If you buy insurance from MIE and don’t suffer from any losses, think of it as donating to the government for building schools and bridges.

Rising interest

Now, interest in insurance is beginning to rise. Just four to five months after purchasing an MIE insurance policy, delivery serviceman Ko Hla Moe Aung met with a car accident and has already received compensation for the damages.

“In the past, I did not know you could buy insurance for trucks and I did not know that government insurance enterprises could be trusts. But after expanding my business, my friends told me to get a policy and it was very useful after my accident. I think I will buy a policy for the long term,” he said.

Currently, insurance policies that cover fires and merchandise are the most common policies in Myanmar. These are followed by total loss policies and policies for local voyage ships.

There are 48 recognised insurance categories under MIE and about 40 insurance offices throughout the country, according to the MIE.

Source: Myanmar Times