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Insurance market lures international investors   2008-09-07 - VNA

 
Despite interim difficulties for the economy, Vietnam is seen as a promising market attracting many international insurance firms.

Lam Hai Tuan, General Director of ACE Life Vietnam – an arm of the US-based group – admitted that the local life insurance market had great potential for development.

In reality, ACE Life notched up an impressive growth of 131 percent in premiums in Vietnam in the first six months of this year, Hai said.

Realising the potential, many foreign insurers have recently launched investment activities in Vietnam , such as setting up representative offices.

In mid-July, the Republic of Korea’s leading life insurance company, Samsung, marked its debut in Vietnam by opening a representative office in Hanoi . It is working to map out strategies to penetrate the Vietnamese market.

Another life insurance company also from the RoK, a member of the Han Wha Group, has been licensed to set up a representative office in Ho Chi Minh City, which is expected to start operation in the first quarter of next year.

Cathay Life, Taiwan ’s largest life insurer, also has just put into operation a subsidiary company in Vietnam with a charter capital of 600 billion VND (36.4 million USD).

Cathay Vietnam General Director Peter Lai said it was an appropriate time to invest in the Vietnamese insurance market, especially life, accident, annual allowance, health and investment-risk insurance.

Also, AIA Vietnam, a big name in the local life insurance market coming from the US , has changed its name to AIG Life Vietnam in order to create impetus for its long-term development strategies in the country.

At present, nine foreign insurers are operating in the country and the number of newcomers is expected to swell in 2009, said Deputy Finance Minister Tran Xuan Ha.

In the first half of this year, the total premium of domestic and foreign insurers exceeded 5 trillion VND (303 million USD), up 13.6 percent over the same period last year.

According to the Vietnam ’s Insurance Association, higher living standards of local residents and service diversification by insurers will help speed up the market development.

It is expected that the market will enjoy a 15 percent growth rate this year.



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