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Authorities to Allow Offering Insurances in USD

Myanmar insurance regulations are set to change with more firms set to be permitted to offer insurance in US dollars, officials said.

The systems would see insured companies pay their insurance rates in US dollars, while the insurance businesses will also be able to settle claims in US dollars.

IKBZ, Grand Guardian Insurance, First National Insurance and Aung Thitsar Oo Insurance currently offer insurance packages in US dollars, however, U Aung Soe Oo of IKBZ said it’s not clear what kinds of businesses are allowed to be insured in US dollars.

“Permits are to be issued based on performance. Four companies, so far, are to be granted permission but any operations cannot be started until the actual instructions have come out,” he said.

Capital of $500,000 and government approval is required before any company is able to start operations with companies expecting permits to be received at the end of the year.

“It’s a good thing insurance can be issued in a foreign currency. This is market expansion. Foreign companies are coming in and can obtain insurance in dollars, it is an improvement in consumer service.

“However we believe this practice will not affect the foreign exchange market,” Dr Maung Maung Thein, chair of Myanmar’s Insurance Regulation Board said.

He hoped these insurance products will provide reliable insurance protection for increasing numbers of foreign businesses operating in Myanmar and spur further investment.

However, domestic awareness or use of insurance is still low, with only 7 million in a country of 60 million covered by life insurance.

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