TII aims to build regional operations of Thai firms
Thailand Insurance Institute (TII) plans to help pioneer insurance businesses in neighbouring countries to expand future business opportunities for local insurance companies.
Thailand is Asean's second-largest market for non-life insurance business after Singapore, but Thailand's role in regional insurance is quite minimal, said TII director Tadthep Sujitjorn.
"We received remarks from the Asean Insurance Council about Thailand's development role in the region, as few Thai insurance companies are operating regionally, while other countries such as Malaysia and Singapore have been stepping beyond their boundaries," Mr Tadthep said.
TII is a non-profit organisation operating under the Thai Life Assurance Association and Thailand General Insurance Association.
The organisation plans to start its development programme in neighbouring countries, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV), by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Cambodia and Laos to provide assistance for insurance associations in these countries.
TII will also provide insurance literacy in CLMV countries, as stipulated in the MoU.
Mr Tadthep said the organisation will invite representatives of insurance companies in CLMV countries to join the education and seminar programmes on risk assessment, insurance products and business concepts. The programmes could be held either in Thailand or abroad, he said.
For example, TII will offer education on construction insurance for Myanmar companies about risk exposure and assessment because this type of insurance is growing at a rapid pace in the country as infrastructure development accelerates.
"We are not going there only to do business. Rather, we aim to expand and develop regional insurance businesses and open a gateway for Thai insurance companies should they opt to expand their businesses externally," he said.
Thai insurance businesses mostly operate domestically, with only a handful of companies venturing outside Thailand, said Mr Tadthep.
Thai firms might struggle when the domestic market becomes too crowded, he said.
TII also plans to help develop human resources for insurance businesses over the next three years, starting in 2019.
The organisation has partnered with Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), a professional body for the insurance sector, with a plan to develop quality human resource for both life and non-life insurance businesses in preparation for rapid changes in the business environment.
The curriculum TII plans to launch consists of courses for financial advisers and life insurance professionals on online learning platforms, with plans to expand the programme into CLMV countries.
"The insurance industry is facing rapid changes and challenges from both external factors and limited domestic growth. These could affect the future of insurance businesses so we must prepare capable human resources," said Mr Tadthep.
The company also wants to set up an insurance curriculum by partnering with Malaysia and Singapore to serve insurance and brokerage firm staff in provincial areas.
At the end of this year, TII plans to join with the Society of Actuaries of Thailand to develop this human resource development programme, including the goal of becoming a centre for international actuarial examination.
TII has arranged education and training programmes for around 10,000 people working in the life insurance segment and 8,000 for non-life insurance companies.