By Feng Yingqiu
YANGON, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar finance authorities have submitted a proposal to the government on seeking permission to grant operation of all types of insurance services to the private sector.
Running of all 40 types of insurance plus additional farmers insurance and overseas employment life insurance are expected to be granted by the government soon, said U Kyaw Win, minister for planning and finance.
Out of 40 types of insurance, the government's Myanmar Insurance (MI) has so far allowed licenses for only 12 types of them with private companies. Of them, traveling insurance, total vehicle insurance, fire insurance and life insurance are the best sellers.
MI has granted licenses to 11 private insurance companies since May 2013. Starting from 2015, MI has planned to open up more insurance categories to private companies.
These categories include products like mercantile marine insurance, credit guarantee and health insurance, but it still limits life and general insurance.
The Insurance Business Supervisory Board, chaired by Deputy Finance Minister Maung Maung Thein, said at present Myanmar has 11 private insurance companies with its premium income reaching more than 72 billion Kyats (65.45 million U.S. dollars) annually.
The country has insurance penetration of 0.1 percent of GDP, an increase of about 4.5 times compared with one decade ago. However total premium income is small relative to the country's economy.
Following credit guarantee insurance that MI launched in July 2014, health insurance was the second new product before the launch of weather index insurance as its third new product.
Health insurance policies has been introduced for the first time in Myanmar under a one-year trial since July 1, 2015 and people aged between 6 and 65 years are set to be eligible for the health insurance.
In the latest development, nine local Myanmar private insurance companies began a new version of health insurance sale to local citizens and foreigners in January this year which guarantees to pay partial cost of hospitalization expense and insurance coverage for accidental deaths.
Since 2012, the country has started liberalizing the sector, granting licenses to private companies but restricting them to operating only six kinds of insurance services.
Of the 20 foreign insurance companies waiting to enter Myanmar's insurance market, three have been reportedly to operate in some special economic zones.