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05/30/2013

News / Swiss-based insurance provider to open representative office in Myanmar

Swiss-based insurance provider ACE Group is planning to open a representative office in Yangon, the capital of Myanmar, by the end of the year. The company has already received approval from Myanmar’s Directorate of Investment and Company Administration.
“According to our experience, we expect that we can help develop Myanmar’s insurance market and business,” ACE chairman and CEO Evan Greenberg was quoted by Eleven Myanmar as saying. “The Myanmar market is attracted to foreign investors.”
ACE Group, a subsidiary of ACE Limited, incorporated in Zurich, Switzerland, operates in 53 countries and territories, and trades in the Lloyd’s insurance market in London. It provides property and casualty, accident and health and life insurance to individuals as well as reinsurance to other insurers.
Its plans to set up shop in Myanmar come as an increasing number of insurance providers shift their priorities to the Southeast Asian market. The market is attractive because the population is younger and tends to save more than in Western countries. The economic slowdown in the west has also caused many companies to refocus on other regions.
Long considered a pariah state with a dismal human rights record, Myanmar has been making strides to democratize its political system and liberalize its economy. The military, which held a tight grip on power for decades, has relinquished some of its control to civilian agencies and institutions. Longtime opposition activist Aung Sang Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy were able to win seats in Myanmar’s parliament last year, and the country has improved its economic and political ties with other countries, most notably the United States.
At the same time, the country still faces a number of challenges, including rampant corruption, a poor understanding of democratic processes among the population, as well as sectarian violence. Last year’s bloody conflict between the Buddhist Rakhines and Muslim Rohingyas in the northwest Rakhine state drew international condemnation against Myamnar for failure to prevent bloodshed. Security forces were also accused of conniving at the attacks and siding with the Rakhines against the Rohingyas.
Last year, the government of Myanmar announced plans to privatize the insurance sector, which had been in the hands of the state since 1962.


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