Foreign insurance firms may start operations by April 2019: regulator

Qualified foreign insurance providers will receive licenses to operate in Myanmar by April next year. “I can assure it is happening within the next 16 weeks,” U Thant Sin, Director of the Financial Regulatory Department under the Ministry of Planning and Finance, said during the UK Capital Market and Insurance Conference in Yangon on December 12.

“We will soon invite Expressions of Interest (EOI) so that foreign insurers can start operations in April or no later than May,” he said.

Foreign insurers from 14 countries have established a total of 31 representative offices in Myanmar in anticipation of the government allowing full foreign investments in life insurance and joint ventures in general insurance.

“Foreign competition is needed in our business. We need more competition to be able to provide better services. Because we lack human resources and skills, foreign insurance providers can help to fill this gap with technical know-how. This will help us produce better quality products and distribution channels,” U Myo Min Thu, managing director of AYA Myanmar Insurance, told The Myanmar Times in October.

The government is also under pressure to open up the insurance sector to foreigners to deepen the bond market and enable to raise debt for expansion.

“If we allow foreign players in the market, we will be able to get the funds we need to develop the government bond market. We will be asking for a large amount of capital from insurance companies to buy government bonds,” said U Thant Sin.

“Foreign insurers will need to fork out US$14 million for a license to provide general insurance. Once the insurance company is given the license, 30pc of their required capital should be for buying government bonds,” he added.


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