The Financial Regulatory Department has granted licences to five foreign insurers and half a dozen joint ventures to operate in the Myanmar market.
British Prudential, Japanese Dai-ichi Life, Hong Kong AIA, US Chubb, and Canadian Manulife have been permitted to issue life insurance policies in Myanmar with their fully-owned subsidiary, more than six months after the five insurers were granted provisional licences.
According to Prudential, Myanmar has a fast-growing middle class, as well as an increasingly urbanised and tech-savvy population. The country has around 57 million mobile subscriptions, with a mobile penetration of around 105%.
The insurer will attempt to harness its wide-ranging digital capabilities and broad range of offerings in Asia, and implement a digital-led strategy, complemented by face-to-face distribution, to broaden access to life insurance in Myanmar, the insurer said in a statement.
The department also granted licences to three life and three non-life joint ventures between foreign and local firms - AYA Myanmar General Insurance and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance, Grand Guardian General Insurance and Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance, and IKBZ Insurance and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance.
Three other life joint ventures are Capital Life Insurance and Taiyo Life Insurance, Citizen Business Insurance and Thai Life Insurance, and Grand Guardian Life Insurance and Nippon Life Insurance.
The announcement marks a significant step towards financial sector liberalisation, allowing foreigners access to one of the last largely untapped insurance markets in the world.
The move follows on other market-opening measures granted to the education, retail and wholesale sectors under the current administration.
Insurance in Myanmar, historically monopolised by the state firm, was opened up to local private operators in 2013, with 11 Myanmar licenced firms currently operating. More than a dozen foreign insurers have set up representative offices in Yangon.