Michael Girling of Infinity Insurance tells us the latest developments in his industry.
Personal insurance only entered Cambodia 20 years ago, and is still a fairly unpredictable industry. According to Michael Girling of Infinity Insurance, the country has not yet wholeheartedly embraced the concept of the industry. Girling believes that this is due to “the initial lack of demand for insurance, the lack of knowledge about the benefits of insurance and the affordability of insurance”, but nonetheless Cambodians are open to change. “The Insurance Association of Cambodia (IAC) is also very conscious of the need to educate Cambodians about the benefits of insuring,” he says.
IAC is working in conjunction with the Ministry of Economy and Finance, holding regional seminars in key population areas. “The IAC has also recently established an education committee to further promote the image of the industry. In addition, the IAC are proactively providing information about the insurance industry via the print media,” says Girling.
Non-life picks up
Girling reveals further insider tips on industry hot topics. Despite the incremental rise in demand personal insurance, non-life insurance is gaining momentum. “The construction boom is definitely in full swing, and a major contributing factor to the growth in the size of the non-life insurance market,” says Girling.
“Right now the non-life market is growing in excess of 22%,” he adds. “That sounds like a lot, but to put it into perspective the total non-life market income in 2015 will only be around US$60 million, compared to US$1.4 billion in Vietnam. The number of new entrants will not rise significantly in the short term.”
According to Girling, the shortage of skilled and experienced insurance professionals is a challenge for the insurance industry. “As more players come into the market, whether they are life, non-life or brokers, it does create more competition. However, it inevitably leads to the dilution of skills throughout the market as there are insufficient locally trained insurance professionals to meet the demand,” he says.
Advice for new expats
Girling says that health insurance, including evacuation cover that is backed by a reputable insurer, is always recommended along with motor vehicle insurance. “If the expat’s new employer is not automatically providing cover, then it is a good idea to buy travel insurance before departing for Cambodia. This form of cover is normally much cheaper than an expat heath policy and can be taken out for up to six months.”
“Not only does this save money, but it gives the family more time to settle in to living in Cambodia without the hassle of trying to arrange insurance as soon as they arrive,” he explains.