Often considered as somewhat of a luxury, the Cambodia insurance sector is regarded as one of the country’s most important pillars of the finance sector.
According to Cambodia Ministry of Economic and Finance (CMEF) secretary of state Ngoun Sokha, by providing a buffer against the poverty inducing burden of sickness, incapacitation, or death, the Cambodia insurance sector is helping to improve the lives of poor working-class Khmer.
Ranking only second in importance to the Cambodia banking sector, Ms Ngoun said the continued development of the Cambodia insurance sector is a key plank of Cambodia government policy because of the benefits it provides, particularly to those at the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum.
While acknowledging the benefits life and health insurance provide to those members of Cambodia society most at risk of suffering economic hardship due to illness or disability, Ms Ngoun also cautioned that companies needed to work hard to earn the trust of the community if the sector was to continue growing.
Insurance should be easy to understand; insurance products should be flexible and affordable; and insurance companies should be compassionate and claims processed quickly when they are made, she said, adding that well trained staff are a necessity if Cambodia’s under-educated working class are to understand the financial safety net such policies can provide.
Ms Ngoun’s comments came last Friday (October 21) while addressing a gathering to mark the fifth anniversary of French insurance company Prévoir establishing itself as Cambodia’s first micro-insurance company under the moniker Prévoir (Kampuchea) Micro Life Insurance (PKMI).
Offering a limited range of individual and group health, accident, and life insurance policies targeted to meet the needs of low- and middle-income earners, PKMI, has managed to create a viable market from what was previously a greenfield sector.
From 5,459 policies covering 13,308 people in 2013, as of October this year it had 127,388 active policies covering 312,846 people. At the same time annual premiums have swelled from just $119,027 to more than $1.085 million.
With a network of some 207 health facilities across Cambodia where its customers can receive medical treatment and have the charges billed directly to it, PKMI, Ms Ngoun said, appeared to be offering the products and services that mirrored what the government expected.
Joining in the celebrations Solene Favre, CEO of PKMI reminded those present that the 106-year-old French parent company owed its success to the trust it built with its clients, suppliers, and partners, and by providing products tailored to meet the needs of clients.
Acknowledging the more than 187.5 per cent compounding annual growth (CAG) in clients covered and an almost 185 per cent CAG in policies over the last three years, Ms Favre said she expected the next five years to see just as impressive growth as more people became aware how PKMIs policies could help them.
Prévoir (PKMI) (Kampuchea) 5th anniversary slide gallery
Photos: John Le Fevre
He has spent extensive periods of time working in Africa and throughout Southeast Asia, with stints in the Middle East, the USA, and England.
He has covered major world events including Operation Desert Shield/ Storm, the 1991 pillage in Zaire, the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 1999 East Timor independence unrest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and the 2009, 2010, and 2014 Bangkok political protests.
In 1995 he was a Walkley Award finalist, the highest awards in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the 1995 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Ebola outbreak.
Prior to AEC News Today he was the deputy editor and Thailand and Greater Mekong Sub-region editor for The Establishment Post, predecessor of Asean Today.
In the mid-80s and early 90s he owned JLF Promotions, the largest above and below the line marketing and PR firm servicing the high-technology industry in Australia. It was sold in 1995.
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