YANGON, Myanmar, Aug. 16 -- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued the following news release:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the World Bank, hosted a workshop today on developing the insurance industry in Myanmar. In cooperation with Myanmar'sMinistry of Finance and other Myanmar government agencies, the workshop included government officials in charge of regulating the industry and business leaders of Myanmar's small, but growing, insurance industry. Experts from the World Bank, U.S. Chamber member companies including ACE, AIG, and MetLife, and additional participants Baker & McKenzie and Tower Watson led the daylong discussions.
"A healthy, competitive insurance industry will be essential to Myanmar's economic growth," said John Goyer, the U.S. Chamber's senior director for Southeast Asia. "Insurance not only provides financial security for Myanmar families, but also mobilizes long-term capital to finance infrastructure investment for the economic development of the nation. Our goal is to work together to set out a vision for the future of the insurance industry, and then look at how we can get there."
"The development of the insurance sector in Myanmar is critical for both social inclusion as well as economic development, thereby contributing to poverty alleviation," said Kanthan Shankar, country manager of the World Bank Myanmar. "We are witnessing the placement of the initial building blocks for a robust and inclusive financial sector, and the World Bank Group, along with other development partners, stands ready to support the government effort."
The workshop discussed the elements of a sound supervisory framework, provided practical advice on a range of doing business, and explored the variety of insurance products that can meet the growing needs of Myanmar's families for financial security. Less than one-half of one percent of Myanmar's population currently has insurance.
Until 2013, the state-owned Myanma Insurance was the country's sole insurer. Subsequently, the government granted 12 new licenses to domestic operators, which have recently begun operations selling a limited range of products. The government has indicated its intention to open insurance to foreign investment to allow Myanmar consumers to benefit from expertise and capital that FDI can bring, but is still considering when it would take that action.
Since the easing of economic sanctions, American investment in Myanmar has reached approximately $350 million, but remains small in comparison to investment by other countries in the region.
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