Insurers eye 2-4% premiums growth

Insurers eye 2-4% premiums growth

People learn more about insurance products at FWD's booth at a recent edition of Money Expo. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
People learn more about insurance products at FWD's booth at a recent edition of Money Expo. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

The Thai Life Assurance Association (TLAA) is targeting industry premium growth of 2-4% this year to 640-650 billion baht, with health insurance premiums expanding by double digits.

President Sara Lamsam, who is also president and chief executive of Muang Thai Life Assurance, said industry premiums totalled 633 billion baht in 2023, up 3.61% from a year earlier, with the top 10 companies having a combined market share of 92.5%.

Annual renewal premiums were 455 billion baht, an increase of 3.06%, while first-year premiums rose 5% to 178 billion, of which the top 10 companies claimed a combined market share of 88.5%.

"Health insurance is increasingly popular with a higher growth rate in 2023 than the previous year as more people are paying attention to their health and becoming aware of possible risks and rising medical costs," he said.

Critical illness premiums are also growing well, increasing 5.93% to 110 billion baht. Pension insurance products have also attracted greater attention, with premiums growing 14.2% to 18 billion baht as Thailand is now defined as an ageing society.

Meanwhile, savings insurance premiums, which account for a large proportion (44.2%) of the life insurance business portfolio, grew by only 2.93% as overall life insurance premiums surged 5.12%.

Mortgage insurance decreased by 0.95% as banks were cautious about lending to would-be homebuyers, said Mr Sara.

In addition, investment-linked insurance also posted a negative growth of 7.69% amid capital market volatility, rising geopolitical conflict and the economic slowdown, he said.

For life insurance business trends in 2024, TLAA expects the industry's total premium income to grow in line with GDP growth, which is estimated at 2.2-3.2%, according to the National Economic and Social Development Council's forecast.

"The TLAA is starting to worry about out-of-control rising medical costs and we must discuss this with the Office of the Insurance Commission. Claims from general minor illnesses or simple diseases started to have a relatively high claim ratio, becoming another concern now," said Mr Sara.

He said challenges for the life insurance industry include a probable economic slowdown, the uncertainty of government stimulus measures such as the digital wallet project, and a slowing Chinese economy that has put pressure on Thailand's export and tourism sectors.

"The volatility of the Thai capital market has continued from last year which affects confidence in the Thai capital market. When people are reluctant to invest, that affects demand for investment-linked life insurance products," said Mr Sara.

"As interest rates tend to decrease, the global financial markets are volatile, affecting the investment income of life insurance companies."

Other risks include geopolitics, ongoing conflict, trade conflicts between large economies, climate change, and elections in several countries this year.

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