Virus Adds to Challenges for Myanmar Insurance Sector

(Bloomberg) --

The Covid-19 crisis has disrupted Myanmar’s efforts to develop its fledgling insurance industry. At the same time, it’s showing why coverage is important, according to Dai-ichi Life Insurance Myanmar Ltd.

The crisis highlights the value of health-care and life coverage in a nation where only about two out of 10,000 people have insurance, said Zarchi Tin, the firm’s chief executive officer. An economic slowdown may make premiums less affordable for some people, she said.

“Like most companies, Covid-19 has brought disruptions to our business,” Zarchi Tin said in a telephone interview Friday. “It’s also made us more agile.”

Read More: AIA, Prudential Among Winners of Myanmar Insurance Licenses

Dai-ichi Life Insurance Myanmar was the sole Japanese firm among the first five, fully foreign-owned businesses to receive life insurance licenses last year. Zarchi Tin said the company is offering grace periods to some customers, and all its staff are working from home amid a partial national lockdown.

Myanmar has reported 146 novel coronavirus cases and five deaths so far. There are fears the pathogen is more widespread than official numbers suggest because of limited testing, and that a major outbreak would overwhelm health-care facilities.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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