September 9, 2019
Yangon, Myanmar: A seminar on “Promoting Microinsurance in Myanmar” was held in Yangon on 9 September to kick-start dialogue on the necessary legal, regulatory, and market-related steps for the mainstreaming of microinsurance in Myanmar. Participants at the seminar, which was jointly organised by the UK aid-funded DaNa Facility and USAID’s Private Sector Development Activity, included key insurance industry stakeholders.
Although the insurance industry in Myanmar remains limited, recent legal reforms paved the way for its expansion by opening the market to international competition. However, to ensure the industry is able to meet the country’s development needs, it has to become more inclusive and move beyond its traditional customer base to enable people with lower incomes to manage their insurable risks.
The need for more inclusive insurance products was emphasised by Daw Sandar Oo, Managing Director of Myanma Insurance, who highlighted the role of microinsurance in meeting the needs of people from across society. “It is very important going forward that we develop microinsurance, as these products will benefit the majority of our people,” she said.
The introduction and expansion of a microinsurance market in Myanmar will help to build the resilience of households and small businesses, protecting them from financial and other shocks through products such as health, life, and asset insurance. Microinsurance is a powerful tool that can help millions of people to avoid unexpected shocks.
“Myanmar needs microinsurance products relevant for low income people as much as—if not more than—it needs traditional insurance products,” said Tom Coward, Team Leader of UKaid Myanmar Inclusive and Livelihoods team.
In 2018, Stonestep Myanmar, a newcomer to the microinsurance market in Myanmar, announced an investment of $1.1 million to develop several new microinsurance products. Brandon Mathews, Founder and CEO of Stonestep, explained how a lack of access to insurance can have wider effects on people with low incomes. “Uncertainty prevents people from trying new things, such as mobile money, upgrading work tools, or investing in their household. The more vulnerable the family, the stronger this effect,” he said.
USAID, through its Private Sector Development Activity, and UKaid, through the DaNa Facility, are supporting the Government of Myanmar to develop the insurance industry. From USAID, this support has included assistance in drafting the new Insurance Business Law, along with capacity building support for FRD staff to undertake supervision of a rapidly growing insurance sector. The DaNa Facility in particular has been working to promote microinsurance, including through grant support to Stonestep, an insurtech firm that has been designing new microinsurance products and developing pilot programmes for the introduction of microinsurance in Myanmar.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact the DaNa Facility communications team at: +95 9782500752 or through email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The DaNa Facility: The DaNa Facility is a UK Department for International Development (DFID) funded programme, established in May 2016 as one of six components of DFID’s wider ‘Business for Shared Prosperity’ (BSP) programme. The DaNa Facility, implemented by DAI Europe and KPMG, supports inclusive economic growth and private sector development in Myanmar through responsible and sustainable business growth, investment and trade.
USAID’s Private Sector Development Activity is a 5-year, $23.3 million project to support economic reforms and the development of institutional innovations to generate inclusive and sustainable economic growth for the people of Myanmar. As one of the focus areas is access to finance, the Activity has been providing support to the Financial Regulatory Department of the Ministry of Planning and Finance over the last four years, and to its insurance division over the last two years. The Activity has helped FRD to draft a modern Insurance Business Law that is based on Insurance Core Principles (ICPs), which are established by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS).
You can find a Myanmar version of this Press Release here.