Non-life premium growth nearing 5%

Non-life premium growth nearing 5%

The non-life insurance segment is likely to meet its 5% growth target this year, with the recent Motor Expo helping to spur a year-end uptick in motor insurance premiums, says the Thai General Insurance Association (TGIA).

For the first 11 months of 2019, the non-life insurance business reported 4.7% growth in total premiums received.

Total insurance premiums are expected to reach 243 billion baht this year, up 5% from 232 billion baht in 2018, said chairman Anon Vangvasu.

"The association is waiting for the response and car sales from the latest Motor Expo to assess whether car sales from the event could support non-life insurance premiums to meet our growth target," Mr Anon said.

The assessment results may have to wait until the start of 2020, he said, as this year's expo was organised late in the year.

The performance of non-life insurance businesses saw promising growth in the first half, but momentum began to slow during the second half as car sales slumped.

Motor insurance contributes about 60% of total non-life insurance premiums. Other challenges experienced by the non-life segment include fiercer competition and a price war.

Mr Anon said he expects motor insurance premiums to continue declining into next year's first half.

In 2018, voluntary motor insurance made up 51% of Thailand's non-life insurance portfolio, followed by personal accident insurance (13%), compulsory motor insurance (8%) and health insurance (4%), with other non-life insurance schemes accounting for the rest of the portfolio, according to the TGIA.

Despite sluggish growth in motor insurance premiums, personal accident insurance and travel insurance have growth potential next year, said TGIA director Kheedej Anansiriprapa.

The Office of Insurance Commission, the Interior Ministry and the Tourism and Sports Ministry have proposed offering a long-stay visa to foreign tourists if they buy travel insurance. The policy remains under consideration.

Another idea is to have foreign migrant workers buy health insurance as a way to rev up premium growth.

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